undefinedIt can be difficult to find EHR systems that have complete 2014 Meaningful Use certification. In fact, the title of "Complete Certification" is only given to software that has been approved to give you all of the capabilities needed, as an OD, to successfully attest to Meaningful Use.

Complete certification is extremely important for your practice if you plan to participate in the Meaningful Use Incentive Program. You will not be able to attest and receive incentive payments unless you adopt an EHR that is certified for the year 2014. However, you may not be interested in participating in Meaningful Use, and you might be wondering why you should switch to a certified EHR. We have compiled a brief list detailing some of the great features a certified EHR system has to offer, outside of Meaningful Use.

9 Reasons Certified EHR Systems are a Necessity for Your Practice

1. Creation of a Patient List: This feature enables your office staff to create a variety of lists to better keep track of your patients. This can be helpful when you are trying to access a specific subgroup within your patient base.

2. Customized Education Resources: You will be able to identify resources and literature based on each individual patient and their situation. This generates greater patient satisfaction, since it allows them to learn more about what they are facing.

3. E-Prescribing: You can use an EHR system to generate online prescriptions and directly send it to the patient's pharmacy of choice. The system will automatically check to ensure that the prescription is covered by insurance, and if not, it will work to find the cheapest and most reliable alternative for the patient.

4. CQM Calculations: In order to receive EHR certification, the software is required to support calculation and reporting of Clinical Quality Measures, or CQMs. These are necessary for Meaningful Use, but can also just be beneficial overall in a practice to pinpoint areas for improvement.

5. Secure Messaging: A certified EHR allows patients to communicate safely and securely with their doctor or another authorized representative. This gives your patients one more easy, and convenient way to communicate with your practice.

6. Computerized Provider Order Entry: This enables your office to record, change, and access all medicines, radiology imaging, and laboratory results–all electronically! This dramatically decreases errors and increases efficiency.

7. Clinical Decision Support: This feature allows an OD to document exam findings, diagnose a patient, review possible treatments, place order–all based on best practices.

8. Drug-Allergy & Drug-Drug Interaction Checks: The system will automatically notify the provider if the drugs prescribed react with any known allergies of the patient.

9. Better Reporting: It is required that certified EHRs report immunization registries and syndromic surveillance data to public health agencies. Most practices will want to do this regardless of incentives, it is just made easier by a Meaningful Use certified EHR.

There are many other fantastic features offered by a complete certified EHR. If a practice is not using electronic files, they cannot download or transfer patient records when referring new doctors. This could mean that a practice not using an EHR is missing referrals from doctors who perceive them as not up to date.

A Meaningful Use certified EHR system will ease the burden of data entry, documentation and generating reports, and it will provide your practice with the tools necessary for optimal patient satisfaction.