The COVID-19 pandemic sped up healthcare practices' adoption and use of healthcare IT (HCIT). Healthcare IT trends in 2021 will continue to be central to health care innovation.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth visits exploded. In 2021, telehealth will continue to be a major part of the healthcare delivery system. Also, COVID-19 vaccination programs have begun, bringing with them tracking and monitoring requirements. Interoperability and not info blocking will become ever more important to coordinate care. Further, remote patient monitoring and big data will help practices keep track of their population health. Here is how your practice can prepare for these significant healthcare IT trends in 2021.

Improving Your Telehealth Workflow

The COVID-19 pandemic forced practices to innovate. Telehealth allowed practices to reduce COVID-19 exposure while managing patients' health. Telehealth visits increased 50 percent in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the first quarter of 2019. Patient demand, safety, and rule changes from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services all drove this expansion.

Telehealth is convenient for patients and can increase physician productivity when appropriately implemented. Telehealth is the new normal and is expected to remain a critical part of the healthcare system in 2021. However, many organizations pivoted towards telehealth so quickly to meet the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic that they didn't have time to concentrate on optimal workflows and user experience. Your practice may need to redesign your telehealth workflows to keep up with demand. Optimizing your telehealth workflows will help you maximize efficiency and minimize provider burnout. Seamlessly integrating your EHR and telehealth solution is key for improved user experience.

A strong telehealth workflow makes it easy for patients to make a telehealth appointment, gives providers sufficient time to address patients' needs, and ensures proper documentation, coding, and billing of all services provided. With changing coding and billing requirements for telehealth, keeping workflows up to date is also essential for proper reimbursement. TempDev's NextGen and workflow redesign experts can help you make telehealth a permanent, seamless part of your practice in 2021.

Administering and Tracking COVID-19 Vaccinations

COVID-19 vaccines will become widely available in the first or second quarter of 2021. If your practice will administer vaccines, now is the time to get ready. TempDev has developed the COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic NextGen EHR Template to help you quickly administer, document, and bill for all currently approved COVID-19 vaccines. The template allows you to document vaccinations without opening individual patient charts. This saves time, helping your providers see more patients. The template is also already pre-configured with Pfizer-Biontech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca vaccine codes. The NextGen template allows you to bill payers the vaccine admin codes quickly and accurately. Have your providers spend more time administering the vaccine than documenting it.

By offering COVID-19 vaccination, your practice is providing a critical community resource. With TempDev's help, you can maximize the number of patients you vaccinate and minimize paperwork for your providers. The COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Template integrates with the NextGen Immunization Interfaces and Vaccine Inventory Management, helping you track and report on vaccination progress.

Getting Ready for Interoperability

The 21st Century Cures Act requires improvements to EHR interoperability to reduce info blocking in 2021 that will affect your practice. First, the hospitals you work with must share your patients' electronic admission, discharge, and transfer (ADT) data with you. This rule means your NextGen EHR and EPM should be configured to receive these messages. Second, payers that take part in Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, and the ACA marketplaces must allow patients to access their claims data through an application programming interface (API). This means you will need to share patient data from your NextGen EHR & EPM with certain payers.

Besides these changes in requirements, the explosion of health are IT and telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic will increase the importance of interoperability. Sharing data with other providers is essential for coordinating care. But these data linkages must be secure. As APIs advance, 2021 will bring more opportunities to share patient data across practices and health systems. It will also allow better and easier integration with other vendors to implement solutions that work for you. Experts expect these changes in data sharing to improve patient diagnosis, treatment, and management.

Your practice will need to upgrade to the version of NextGen released in 2021 to comply with the 21st Century Cures Act requirements. TempDev's NextGen project managers, trainers, and developers can help you prepare your NextGen EHR to meet the interoperability needs to be in compliance.

Gearing Up for Remote Patient Monitoring

Besides telehealth, 2021 is expected to bring advances in remote patient monitoring. Remote patient monitoring helps providers track key patient health indicators between visits. For example, some home blood sugar monitors can automatically report patients' data back to your EHR. Tools to track patients' weight, heart rate, blood pressure, and vital signs remotely can reduce in-person visits and help engage patients in their care. If your practice plans to use remote patient monitoring in 2021, TempDev can help you configure your NextGen EHR to process the incoming data.

Your NextGen EHR and EPM store a wealth of data about your practice and patients. As healthcare IT adoption continues to grow, your practice will need to take advantage of that data to remain competitive. TempDev can help you take advantage of your data to gather insights about your patients and your practice.

TempDev's custom NextGen EHR and EPM Business IntelligenceDashboards and Reports help your practice seamlessly aggregate financial and clinical data into key performance indicators (KPI) about your practice's efficiency, revenue cycle, care quality, and workflows. TempDev can also help your practice implement NextGen's Clinical Decision Support (CDS) tools and integrate them into your workflows. These tools use clinical guidelines to gather data about a patient and recommend diagnoses or protocol-based care plans.

Big data is also increasingly crucial for population health monitoring. From COVID-19 outbreak tracking to monitoring the burden of chronic diseases in your community, your NextGen EHR can help you play a critical role in population health. TempDev can provide advice, training, customization, and support for your practice to get started using NextGen population health management tools.

TempDev's consultants and developers are NextGen experts. With TempDev's help, you can get your NextGen EPM & EHR and your workflows ready for healthcare it trends in 2021. From telemedicine and remote patient monitoring to COVID-19 vaccinations to interoperability and big data, TempDev is ready to help your practice get the most out of your NextGen EHR.

Call us at 888.TEMP.DEV or contact us here to optimize your NextGen EHR & EHR system in the new year.

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