Couldn’t make it to the 2022 eClinicalWorks conference last month? We’ve got you covered!
Once again, Medical Advantage sent a group of consultants to sunny Orlando, Florida for the annual eClinicalWorks conference, and what a productive trip it was! Our consultants stayed busy gathering the most relevant information for our clients regarding eCW. They also took the time to engage in conversation and compare notes with other industry professionals.
And now we get to pass along this exciting new information to our podcast audience!
What can we expect from V12? As users of eCW, how will changes affect our day-to-day? Will your workday get easier with these changes? How will these changes impact the patient experience? We answer all that (and more) in our roundtable debrief covering the highlights of the conference.
If you’re curious about eCW and want to learn more about its updated approach to patient engagement, data integration, the push toward cloud-based data storage, eClinical touch, billing, Azure, and general improvements to the interface, this episode is for you!
Join host Project Manager and Consultant Celina Dusseau, attendees (Bailey Sutherland – Senior Consultant of In-Practice Technology Services, Bonnie Rapchak – EHR Consultant and Trainer, Gary Hilligoss – Senior EHR Consultant, and Malachi Mosley – EHR and Business Development Consultant) sharing goodies from the conference, including some “jellybeans.”
Thank you for listening to the Medical Advantage Podcast, where each we take time each episode to discuss the ideas and technologies changing healthcare, and the best practices your organization can take to stay productive and profitable.
To read the our blog for a written summary on the 2022 eClinicalWorks Conference, click here.
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Full Episode Transcript
Medical Advantage Podcast: Welcome to the Medical Advantage Podcast, where you can hear healthcare professionals, expert consultants, and industry thought leaders discuss the exciting new ideas and technologies that are changing the business of healthcare. Tune in to each episode as we hear from some of the most innovative minds in medicine about the future of healthcare and how your organization can stay profitable, efficient, and on top of industry best practices.
Celina DeFigueiredo-Dusseau: So to get us started, I’d like to take a moment to introduce our panelists for today’s discussion. As I mentioned, my name is Celina Dusseau. I’m a consultant on our Practice Solutions team, and today I will be your host and moderator for our panelist discussion. Today I’m thrilled to be joined by senior consultants, Bailey Sutherland and Gary Hilligoss, and EHR consultants, Bonnie Rapchak and Malachi Mosley.
Thank you all so much for taking some time out of your. Our focus here today is to discuss the eCW National Conference. It’s a busy event with many breakout sessions running in parallel, and even when attending in person, it’s really never possible to hit all of the sessions that we would like. So our goal today is to break it down for you, across our team here we attended the session, dividing and conquering, and we’ll offer our thoughts based on the perspective of our consultants who work in practices every single day, understanding the needs and the opportunities that we see aligned with what was announced and covered during the conference. So let’s dive in, starting with v12.
Malachi, I would love to hear from you. What significant changes did you hear as far as the EMR functions go?
Malachi Mosley: I feel like eCW actually hit it out of the park with this keynote. A lot of the things that they were addressing during the keynote was stuff that I’ve heard physicians, clinical staff, practice administrators ask for quite some time.
Even being at the conference, it was good to, after the keynotes stop by and, you know, catch people and be like, “Hey, it sounds like they’re really listening.” There was a lot of excitement coming out of the keynote. I feel like. one of the things that they really did well was improve the provider experience in the system.
We saw a lot of enhancements with the medication management system, and I’ll call a few of those out right now. There was an option to taper medications and as we saw when they were tapering the medications. In eCW in the past it can be multiple medication orders being put in in order to taper off meds but with this, there’s gonna be an actual taper button that when you click gives you the strength you want, the number of days, how many pills, and you can very quickly move through and enter these numbers into these columns and it will automatically generate the order for that medication to be tapered. It took a lot of the work out of the physician’s hands and just automated it.
We also heard a little bit about how the system can be now navigated through keystrokes. That’s something that I didn’t really expect from them to implement. That seems like, you know, something that’s not really what we want, but more and more people that are trying to move through systems quickly have discovered that you don’t need a mouse, you can just use keys, strokes to move very quickly through the system.
Another feature I liked was the floating toolbar. So I was a little worried when they said that they were going to add a toolbar to eCW because my fear is, is that it’s gonna get a little bit too clustered out there on the screen and it’ll be hard to track.
But what they’ve done is they’ve taken this additional toolbar and put it onto the left side of whatever screen that you’re in and it will very quickly help you move into orders that have been done for the patient. You can kind of get a quicker, better idea of the patient’s care through this floating toolbar without having to jump in and out of so many screens. They’ve really streamlined that process.
They added filter defaults. So if you’ve worked in eCW, you’ve gone and looked at your jelly beans and you know, maybe today you work with this physician on Tuesdays and on Wednesdays you work with these other two providers. You would have to adjust what all these filters were saying in order to know what your book of work is. If you wanna know what telephone encounters you have to do for that Tuesday, well now you can save a filter view as a default, which will then let you know, okay, here’s my Tuesday schedule.
Now, what I really like about that is there’s an administrative function behind that as well. If you have expectations that your team is going to work through a certain set of jelly beans in eCW, You could create a filter and save that as such, and then that becomes the expectation that that gets down to zero at the end of the day.
So being able to use those tools well is really gonna play into being able to manage your practice better day to day. Bonnie, do you feel like those are, maybe I’ve missed, some features that were really standard?
Bonnie Rapchak: No, I think those are huge, huge, impactful highlights of part of the development. The Healow insights piece that is coming about and, and the functionality of data available on your patient’s clinical background from all different areas, any EHR, is going to be huge and very, very helpful for finding gaps of care, coding gaps, things along those lines.
Also they did a lot of, for the free text areas within the system, so if you tend to dictate or type a lot in the notes area, they have macros that are available, you can just click and see what is available for that. Plus the keystrokes, like you were talking about, they’ll have letter tags or tags available. So if you just wanna pull in the vitals, like into your narrative, that tag is available to just plop in there and get the information. So I think it’s just gonna make it easier for the providers to document.
Malachi Mosley: Yeah that extra information coming out of insights is great too. And I think I saw that that’s gonna be in the timeline view where instead of just having all this information, it sorts it out in a way where you can see the patient’s medical care journey throughout a period of time. And from the feedback that I heard with a lot of the providers that were there on site, that’s a game changer for them. It’s gonna give them one spot to look to really dig into what their patient care has been.
Bailey Sutherland: And I think a favorite of, of many of us is the copy faced functionality. Finally working within eClinicalWorks, something so simple. But that has been missing for a long time. So I know I heard a lot of IT staff that were there in attendance that were like, “Well, I can finally tell ’em they can do that.”
Bonnie Rapchak: That was huge.
Gary Hilligoss: A lot of cheers on that one.
Bonnie Rapchak: Yes. And the right, the right chart panel is having greater functionality. Your previous encounters are gonna list over there so that if you wanted to look at the last progress note, you don’t have to just leave the current progress note to see it.
Malachi Mosley: Mm-hmm.
Bonnie Rapchak: So you’re gonna find that right panel being a little bit more user.
Celina DeFigueiredo-Dusseau: Thank you all so much for an awesome overview and the rundown on the keynote. I myself am particularly excited for the copy and paste, and that was a big one, so thank you for calling that out as well. To follow up on that we had started to touch on Healow and Healow insights a little bit.
I’m curious to know with the push for value based care, both in eCW and in healthcare at large. What has been announced in the world of patient engagement? Bonnie, do you have any particular insights there?
Bonnie Rapchak: There were a couple other things with like a Healow chat bot that would be on your website that lets the patients do simple things like appointments or changing their password, make a payment without having to go all the way into the portal. Those are some of the improvements. They’ve improved the surveys where questionnaires can be attached to them as well, so you can have other documents. There are quite a few different pieces with the Healow updates.
Bailey Sutherland: And Bonnie, just to add, that chat bot feature is really gonna help with front office workflows. I think it might help take some of that pressure off your front office staff to answer that phone, figure out patient’s passwords and reset them even, you know, appointment scheduling, like you mentioned. There’s just so many features that make it so your front desk doesn’t have to be your help desk anymore.
Bonnie Rapchak: And the appointment, the Healow open access will let patients actually make an appointment based on the problem, it doesn’t have to be, I’m an existing patient or a new patient or a follow up. I can say I have a sore throat and it’ll find the type of appointment, an open slot for that to be booked. So I thought that was pretty cool.
Celina DeFigueiredo-Dusseau: That’s fantastic and such a wonderful point about the bots for the website as well. Improving patient accessibility really is key and that kind of leads me to my next question, Bonnie, I think you might be able to answer this one as well. There’s been a lot of interest in growth in the area of behavioral health and some upward trends in that area. Can you offer any updates or insights on that piece?
Bonnie Rapchak: That was actually one of my favorite sessions because they’ve improved the behavioral health module. They actually consider it a new module. A lot of it’s available in version 11, but the enhancements that are coming in version 12 make it so the visit type is gonna dictate that it’s a behavioral health session.
It will pop up, it’ll have its own floating toolbar. It gives you the standard SOAP note and then you have the shortcut, you have a time tracker now, which has been huge in behavioral health.
Malachi Mosley: That’s big
Bonnie Rapchak: Because they have to document it, and a lot of it like the behavioral health history and screenings, and that’s all part of the progress note, and you can customize those forms and have it based on visit type and, and, and set those up.
Everything will have its own little BH tab in the right chart panel. So you’ll be able to see that and they have confidential notes. So this note is not part of the medical record. But the provider, or whoever made the note, would be the only one that could actually see it. So they have the ability to have a patient on telepsychiatry or televisits where the patient can sign virtually.
And then they’ve also created the group chat and group discussions. So now for these group therapy sessions, they’ll be able to invite them and then have them virtually sign off on the session. And then that provider can lock all the notes related to who all attended it.
So I think there’s some nice features. It’s a little bit easier to document as well compared to the old care plan.
Malachi Mosley: Bonnie, I did not get a chance to attend that session. If I can ask a question real quick in terms of marking a note confidential, are you saying it could be a single progress note that’s confidential? Instead of what psack does, which is really the entire patient becomes confidential.
Bonnie Rapchak: No well, that piece is one area, but this is actually, you know how the sticky notes are there at the top? This is actually part of the progress, it’s to the side, I guess, for lack of a better way to put it like a sticky note, but it’s only viewable to the user who created.
Malachi Mosley: Yeah, great.
Bonnie Rapchak: So you know as a therapist, if they wanna document something that’s extremely private that they don’t want for it to be out there for part of the medical record, they can have that. Of course, you could pull it into the medical record if you needed to.
Celina DeFigueiredo-Dusseau: Thank you Bonnie, and thank you Malachi for the follow-up question there. We’ve talked quite a bit about features and efficiency and functionality, and I can’t help but think that with every feature and every function comes a new piece of data and how to manage it and how to report on it. I understand the new eCW is really making some strides and developments on that in V12.
Bailey, I understand that you had attended some of those sessions. Do you wanna give us an overview of what we’re seeing in the world of data management and integration?
Bailey Sutherland: Absolutely. Yeah there’s a lot of new things and some of those were addressed in the keynote, and Malachi and Bonnie touched a little bit on them but to kind of dive in, we’ve had common well and care quality for quite some time as an information exchange opportunity within eClinicalWorks. Prismas came out and not a lot of clinics have really taken that opportunity to dive in and use Prisma and the search insights.
And like Malachi was kind of mentioning that sorting of incoming information from other health systems and bringing in information from anyone else who participates will be huge for care. You can smart search essentially any of that data that comes in. So let’s say you had a patient that had been to the hospital recently for a broken and you’re their primary care physician.
If you typed in x-ray, it would pull up all of the x-ray notes that were available for anything, not just that one instance of care, but anything in that record that patient has from any, basically, medical facility they’ve been to. So it will organize it in a fashion where you can review, like a timeline based approach like Malachi mentioned. So I think that’s gonna be huge for bringing in data on the actual management of data internally for groups.
I think we’re gonna see large shift in just better use of EBO. There’s some new reports that have came out mostly on the RCM side of the house, AR side of the house. That are going to be inherently built in to EBO and if you have EBO custom reports, there’s not a lot of necessarily change there, but just more data to work with right at the end of the day and pull together.
And I think that’s something that’s often underutilized by organizations. But if you have a discreet data point within eClinicalWorks, you can essentially report back out on it, and I think you’ll see more and more people take advantage of that just as they’re learning more about this system. So I am excited for all of you to dive deep in your data, to understand the health of your organization and your patients.
There’s a ton when it comes to value-based care and coding as well that you can do on the EBO side. So just excited to see where people run with it and what kind of reports they’re looking to build that aren’t inherently built in the system.
Celina DeFigueiredo-Dusseau: That is fantastic. Thank you, Bailey. And of course, the other side of the coin with data beyond just reporting and aggregating data, is actually how to manage it. And one of the big messages from the conference this year was a push towards using the cloud.
What has been done to encourage more organizations to use the cloud and, and why is that taking place?
Bailey Sutherland: Yeah, so I think we see this huge shift, one big thing is infrastructure. They recently have been backed by Azure. I think all of you have probably seen those announcements around them making a partnership there. That’s greatly increased the speed at which you can retrieve and exchange data and sign into their systems even. And that alone I think will be a huge thing for people, right?
If it takes you all night to run a report, you’re less likely to wanna check those reports. So that infrastructure change and that push towards the cloud allows them to fetch that data and compile it more quickly than you would necessarily as server based, in your own environment.
So eClinicalWorks is encouraging their customers to move to the cloud. You heard it probably in almost any session you attended if you were there and if you weren’t there, I’m sure you’ll see social posts as well as emails coming from them, really pushing on that. I think a lot of functionality you gain with version 12 will also be better suited to be in the cloud in general. Just again, for that speed at which you’d like to have things work. And I’ll let any others who have something to add there, chime in.
Gary Hilligoss: They did mention that there has been a very large shift towards transitioning to the cloud, so it’s much better now than it has been in the past. They mentioned that 75% of their client base of thousands upon thousands of customers have already made that transition.
So they’re really trying to focus on those other 25% and get the messaging across about the value of making that transition for their practices and the advantages that it brings.
Malachi Mosley: I think we saw that value. With even the login, that alone, going from 15 seconds down to like 6. My hair was blowing back from how fast it was.
Bonnie Rapchak: Well, the other side is if you have a device and you have a user logged in, but you don’t need to log out, you can just lock it. I could come and log in and have my session, lock it, come back, put a pin number in, and within half a second I’m back to where I was in the system. So I think that’s gonna make a huge difference for these clinics that have devices in the rooms.
Malachi Mosley: Yeah
Bailey Sutherland: The big three drive homes, there are reliability, security, and availability at the end of the day. So that’s what they’re selling it on, I do think they’re valid points there. You want to be able to get to your medical records, in any situation in case. If your server’s on site and you have some kind of natural disaster, oftentimes that takes down your instance of eClinicalWorks. So this gives you that chance to have access more easily from anywhere.
Celina DeFigueiredo-Dusseau: Speaking of usability, the next piece of that puzzle that I’d like to touch on is eClinicalTouch. I understand there’s been some pretty big upgrades there as well.
Gary, can you tell us a little bit about some of the changes that are coming for eClinicalTouch and how that’s gonna continue to make things easier across eCW?
Gary Hilligoss: Yeah, it’s kind of interesting because it’s not necessarily changes to eClinicalTouch. They rolled out a whole new platform, so they did not make adjustments to eClinicalTouch 3. EClinicalTouch 4 the version that just came out, it’s brand new, every single thing about it, and it was really impressive.
It makes the user experience very easy and seamless, and a lot of the things they brought to the table are just amazing. You can drag and drop jelly beans and prioritize ’em. You can drag and drop menus throughout the whole application.
If anything is written in blue and highlighted, you can tap it and it expands and you can easily close it. You can drag and drop your windows. If you’re in the middle of a progress note seeing a patient, you’ll get a notification that a telephone encounter came in, you’ll see the patient’s name. And if you wanna break away from that encounter to speak with that patient, you can actually just drag and drop your encounter over to an area called the workspace and put it to the side. And go ahead and do your phone encounter right away on the spot.
Overall, just the usability and flexibility of it was incredible. Something else that I liked that I thought was a good idea that they, that they did was something interesting is obviously it’s an Apple application. If you go to your iPad or your iPhone settings for the eClinicalWorks app, it actually has a little dropdown, and you can scroll through and select what language. And you can change the language in your iPhone settings and it changes the language for the entire eClinicalTouch experience altogether.
So overall, I really feel like they knocked it out of the park and, and did a really great job with, with this, this time.
Bailey Sutherland: That’s cool. I like that we’re seeing a lot of functionality changes. I know they have a lot more available in Spanish throughout eClinicalWorks as well, so that was kind of cool to see them really hone in on that, you know, kind of inclusive piece of the puzzle to make sure that more end users can effectively use the the chart.
Celina DeFigueiredo-Dusseau: I have one last question for you, and that is around the use of billing. I understand that there’s been some updates there and optimizations just on the RCM aspect and making it a little bit more of a, a well-oiled machine.
Bonnie, I think you had the opportunity to hear a little bit about what changes and updates were coming that way. Do you mind sharing a little bit about what you learned?
Bonnie Rapchak: Sure. There were definitely some new EBO reports that will be tax ID specific, that will help a lot with billing, especially ERA posting. Unposted ERAs to where you can pull things by tax ID, which will be very helpful.
They with Healow Pay or the payment they’ll have the ability, if you needed multiple bank accounts. Where before you couldn’t have different ones, where now you can have multiple bank accounts with the Healow Pay situation.
There was a talk about, and it was very interesting to me, but centralized billing. For a billing situation where you’re managing three or four separate eCW databases, not in an enterprise environment, but being able to roll it up and do the billing centralized, which I didn’t get to see a lot about that, but that seems very intriguing to me.
Celina DeFigueiredo-Dusseau: I would like to take a moment and really just kind of wrap up. What is it that we’ve covered today? What was covered during the conference? eCW has really reinforced much of what we’ve discussed today and their three key takeaways that were recently announced on their website and their blog.
Those over-arching themes are really number one, to make the jump to using browser and using the cloud. We’ve talked about the benefits of that just from an efficiency and management standpoint. And carrying into that the use of Prisma and other data integrations just to gain really deep and thoughtful clinical insights to your patient population.
We touched on that from a number of standpoints, but it is really important to not just utilize that data, but access it and aggregate it in a way that is meaningful to you and your patient population.
And last but not least, challenge yourself to try to identify and implement one advancement. We understandthese features can be a little bit overwhelming. It’s a lot that comes all at once but those features are meant to help enhance and support your overall practice functions.
Although change can be a little bit daunting with the proper planning and support, you can absolutely do it and see the full extent and benefit of your use of eClinicalWorks.
Well, thank you all for your input on our handful of questions and our discussion. Thank you always to our audience for listening. See you next time.
Medical Advantage Podcast: Thanks for joining us this week on the Medical Advantage Podcast, where we discuss the ideas and technologies changing healthcare and what they mean to your organization. For more information, visit us at medicaladvantage.com and make sure to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts, so you never miss a show.