The Doctor’s Advocate | Second Quarter 2013
The Doctors Company understands that using an electronic health record (EHR) and complying with the changing requirements of Meaningful Use can lead to frustration in a busy medical practice. For this reason, we believe it is important to make you aware of applications that facilitate compliance and are integrated into the EHR workflow.
The Physicians’ Desk Reference, produced by PDRNetwork, is a trusted source of drug information within the medical profession. The Doctors Company (and other medical professional liability insurance companies) works with PDRNetwork through membership in the iHealth Alliance. The iHealth Alliance is an independent not-for-profit organization whose mission is to support and protect the interests of patients and providers as healthcare increasingly adopts electronic systems in patient care. The iHealth Alliance oversees the PDR Drug Alert Network and other safety-related services hosted by PDRNetwork.
In this context, I am pleased to tell you about PDR+, a new app to enhance existing EHR platforms. PDR+, which is available at no cost to providers, facilitates compliance with a Meaningful Use 2 (MU2) requirement that mandates delivery of patient-specific and clinically relevant educational and drug-safety materials directly to patients via the EHR patient portal or print.
In 2013, EHRs must provide this patient education capability in order to be certified by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). The capability must be infobutton-enabled. An infobutton, which appears in the EHR as a small button or icon (for example, ), is a healthcare informatics interoperability standard that makes relevant information immediately available to physicians within workflow.
In order to obtain federal EHR incentives, physicians must distribute clinically relevant education and reminders to a minimum of 10 percent of their active patients and use secure messaging to communicate.
The following quotes from MU2 specify the new requirements:
- Use clinically relevant information from Certified EHRs to identify patient-specific education resources, and provide them to patients.
- Use secure electronic messaging to communicate with patients on relevant health information.
- Use clinically relevant information to identify patients who should receive reminders for preventive/follow-up care.
Few, if any, physicians will have the time or resources to develop these educational materials for their patients. Physicians (and other providers) will, however, be responsible for the content of the educational information sent to patients, so it is important that the materials come from trusted sources of high-quality patient education information.
Medical specialty societies are such a source, and many are involved in developing educational materials to satisfy the new MU2 requirement. Third parties may also prepare educational materials, but, if the information is confusing, incorrect, or out-of-date (drug information changes frequently), it may create provider liability. The good news is that patient education has the potential to provide liability protection. Documenting in the EHR when the patient receives patient-specific and disease-specific educational information will contribute to the process of informed consent.
The PDR+ app will appear in EHRs this fall. It will automate the delivery of FDA-approved drug information and reminders sent directly to patients via the EHR patient portal. Because the app is automatically triggered by e-prescribing, it is fully integrated into workflow. PDR+ is designed to improve drug safety and enhance patient compliance, thereby improving both fill rates and adherence. The PDR+ service for EHRs includes PDR-branded drug education programs for more than 2,000 of the most commonly prescribed drugs. There are links to FDA labeling and associated financial assistance programs.
In early 2014, PDR+ will also provide associated disease-specific information that will accompany drug information. PDRNetwork is currently working with leading medical specialty societies to add their patient education programs to this service.