NetDirective Technologies and Mima Technology Solutions
Tech Solutions for Modern Medicine
“EHR” and “EMR” – “electronic health record” or “electronic medical record” – in modern medicine are crucial terms, signaling an end to the age of paper and photography, which means more efficient, cost-saving ways to operate a health care facility, and, more importantly, near instant access to critical data and imaging which can help save lives.
The physicians of Melbourne Internal Medical Associates (MIMA), which has 17 offices and over 125 physicians in offices in south and central Brevard, have understood the importance of EMR for years and formed MIMA Technology Solutions (MTS), a wholly-owned subsidiary, to leverage its 12 years of experience with EMR and help physicians outside of its network implement and improve EMR in their practices.
“Having a legible centralized electronic database of patient charts presents a variety of benefits for the physician. A patient chart that can be accessed securely from anywhere that an Internet connection exists gives the physician instant access to their patients’ data from any where in the world at any time,” explains Bart Carmichael, administrator for MTS.
Partnering for Patient Safety
MTS, which proudly says its programs are “designed by doctors, for doctors,” has developed strong expertise in the planning, implementation, training and support of EMR. Now, MTS hosts secure, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant systems in MIMA’s state-of-the art data centers. The company partners with netDirective Technologies based in Rockledge, a multi-faceted organization that provides end to-end technology assistance combined with software integration and engineering practices.
netDirective has thrived since it started in 2002 by planning, designing, maintaining and supporting information technology systems for small and medium-sized businesses and public agencies throughout the state.
“netDirective is a trusted advisor and outsourced IT department to over 100 diverse organizations spanning a broad range of industries including health care, legal and financial services, municipalities, manufacturing and high-tech,” says David Soper, president of netDirective.
Its connection to MIMA came when that company, like so many others, realized that it could not handle its technology or realize its technological future, alone.
“Last year, we initiated a relationship with MTS, which has been supporting EMR for more than 12 years and now is moving forward to offer technical solutions to physicians outside their practice,” says Soper. “We’re partnering with MIMA so we can complement and support each other’s service offerings.”
It is a perfect partnership, as netDirective is experienced in performing EMR readiness assessments and network upgrades, and has a reputation for responsive service while applying management best practices. “The netDirective relationship allows MTS to focus on its core competencies of practice workflow analysis and EMR implementation, integration and training,” he says.
Guiding the Transition
Ray Corriveau, netDirective’s vice president of sales and marketing, says “cultural acceptance, comprehensive training and knowledgeable support are the most critical factors when implementing an EMR.”
“MIMA Technology Solutions knows that each physician and staff member has a different personality but similar needs that are rarely solved in the same way. MTS takes this into consideration in the design, implementation and training of EMR. Furthermore, assisting a practice through the transition from paper based records to electronic medical records represents a radical change for the practice. The combination of experienced partners like netDirective and MTS will help physicians evolve to the new digital world.”
According to Corriveau, MTS provides “proven and certified EMR products” from companies like General Electric (GE), and practice management products from companies like Athena Health, in addition to GE. While MTS allows software vendors to stick with what they do best, develop software, MTS focuses on its strengths,which are the planning, implementation, training, hosting and support of physician software products.“
The partnership with netDirective allows MTS to stay focused on successful EMR and PM implementations while netDirective focuses on hardware and networkspeed and up-time for MTS customers,” he says.
Soper agrees. “I think what you’ll find is that, as a result of this relationship, both parties will be more successful and more effective, and at the end of the day, the patient will be healthier. Isn’t that the point?”
EMR: An Overview
Electronic medical records (EMR) usually are computerized, legal, medical records created by health care organizations or practices. They often are part of local, stand-alone health information systems that allow storage, retrieval and manipulation of records. Paper-based records require comparatively large amounts of storage and most states require health care organizations to hold “physical records” for a minimum of seven years. The costs of media, such as paper and film, is very expensive when compared to electronic storage, and movement to a particular location for review can be complicated and time-consuming.
One study estimated that EMR systems improve efficiency by 6 percent per year. Yet, in 2006 it was reported by the “The Executive’s Guide to Electronic Health Records” that fewer than 10 percent of hospitals have fully integrated EMR systems, and the National Center for Health said that in 2008, 38.4percent of office-based physicians reported using full or partial EMR systems. Among hospital CIOs surveyed this year, 58 percent named EMR systems as the most important IT project over the next 24 months. Also, 73 percent of hospital CIOs believe vendor capacity could be an issue for implementation. Another recent report indicates that approximately 200,000 of U.S. physicians have some form of EMR. This represents around one quarter of total physicians.
Last year, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which contains incentive payments of up to $44,000 per provider to medical groups and physicians that qualify as a “meaningful electronic health record (EHR) user” was signed.
To qualify for these incentives, the EHR system must be “certified,” include electronic prescribing and allow for the electronic exchange of health information among other requirements. Penalties will kick in for those health care providers that have not adopted an EHR by 2015.