Ep. 47: What’s New With eCW: 2023 Conference in Nashville Takeaways

by | Nov 27, 2023

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Want to get caught up on what you missed at the 2023 eClinicalWorks Conference? Join host Rebekah Duke, along with our attendees for a lively recap of the conference and what exciting new AI enhancements were presented.

Once again, Medical Advantage sent a team of consultants to the annual eClinicalWorks conference. This year, it was held in Nashville, TN from October 20-22. Our team, including Business Development Consultant Bailey Sutherland, and Optimization Consultants Bonnie Rapchak and Jordin Crystal, were busy gathering everything they need to know about eCW’s new features and enhancements for V12, with a special focus on the use of AI technology to make healthcare work easier. They share their takeaways in this podcast episode, so tune in to hear all about it.

What can we expect from the rollout of V12 starting from December 15th? How will these updated features and enhancements impact our day-to-day operations and the patient experience? We answer all these questions (and more) in our roundtable debrief, covering the highlights of the conference including what’s new with Prisma, eClinicalTouch, RTBC/PA, EBO, and more! 

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. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts to ensure you never miss an episode.

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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.

Rebekah Duke: Hello, and welcome to the Medical Advantage podcast. Glad to have you join us today. I am Rebekah Duke here again to host another episode all about what’s new with eClinicalWorks. Around this time last year, we did a debrief on how the annual conference went and are back together to do it once more, checking in on this year’s conference. That was held in October in Nashville.

If you are a current ECW user or just like to keep up with what’s new in the world of EHR, then sit tight because our attendees are here to give you the scoop. Joining the podcast today are our optimization consultants, Bonnie Rapchak and Jordin Crystal, along with business development consultant, Bailey Sutherland. Welcome to the podcast, everyone.

Thanks for having us, Rebekah. Thank you. Hi, Rebekah.

So let’s begin with the keynote. We can expand on the details of the keynote in a bit, but I wanted to get everyone’s read on it. What was the energy like compared to previous ECW events?

Bailey Sutherland: That sounds good. So I think there’s a lot of excitement in the room for the new AI features. I know they tease that a lot preconference and, there was lots of things that were shown that people have been waiting a long time for the EHR to be simpler and in regard to, so I think there’s lots of excitement, lots of cheers overall good response to the things that they highlighted during the keynote.

It’s always a blast to go to the Clinical Works Conference. It’s really one where you can combine great socializing, parties and events with, great learning opportunities and an inability to engage with the clinical work staff there on site. It’s valuable in our eyes here at Medical Advantage, but also to end users across the country as is shown by the almost 6, 000 end users who show up to the conference every year. We definitely get a chance to touch base with clients from across the country that I don’t get to see in person all the time. As well as those that maybe have used this in the past, but haven’t for a while and meeting so many new groups across the country. There’s just. Inevitable opportunity when you go to something like this to help share how the system can be best utilized, because everyone’s instance is a little bit different while you have the ability to do the same thing that doesn’t mean you’re set up in the same way.

 It’s really great to engage and have those conversations about where there is opportunity to optimize, enhance, and prove how the system is used in each and every practice that’s out there with eClinicalWorks. We love to have those conversations. We love to be a part of the equation and how to get from where you are today to what the future state that you’re hoping for should look like. So it’s great to use this conference as an opportunity to have those conversations in person.

Rebekah Duke: Very nice how about you, Bonnie?

Bonnie Rapchak: The energy is always great at the keynote because Grish is such an impactful speaker but, I agree with Bailey, the AI portion and what they’re introducing brought a lot of excitement in the crowd it’s really pretty good.

Rebekah Duke: All right, Jordin’s turn. Tell us more about this exciting conference.

Jordin Crystal: I thought everybody was pretty excited. There was already a big buzz before the conference about seeing AI. So I think, you know, with most users testing out AI on their own through other platforms, I think everybody kind of was just excited to see how ECW would apply it in the application. I feel like everyone was a little even more excited than usual.

Rebekah Duke: With the new features, sometimes the concept takes a while to materialize as a feature that works well. So, Bailey, can you share what features fall into this category?

Bailey Sutherland: I think there’s a multitude of features that can fall into this category. Most of those. Really take back and set up when you’re talking about they don’t work as well functionally as you plan for them to. So a lot of groups think as soon as you turn something out in the system, it’s going to work automatically and that’s just not the case with with many things. Everything from alerts, which is simple to the clinical rules engine. There’s set up work that has to happen in the background for those functionalities to work appropriately and lots of groups don’t have the expertise internally to push through those challenges that can come with setup. Another thing with AI, there’s learning that happens, right? So some of these AI functionalities that we’ll talk a little bit more about in a bit are probably going to take some time to perfect in the system in your individual database, I imagine. But if you watch other forms of AI that have been in place that is something that they learn as they go, right? They take the information in and that’s part of the process.

 I think some of those things are going to take a little while to learn your natural language as a provider and things like that. Those are a couple of areas that I see taking some time for adoption. There’s also lots of things you can turn on and off via item keys and if you don’t turn those on, you don’t have automatic access to those features. Some people don’t even know what item keys are available. That’s something for whatever reason eClinicalWorks sometimes keeps tight to their chest as far as what those item keys are and what they do. So, knowing what’s at the root of version 12 item keys allows you to enable more of the system to be used appropriately.

Rebekah Duke: While we’re on the subject of features. Didn’t you learn that you can now find them by search?

Bailey Sutherland: Yeah, with the new AI that’s coming out, we did see some demonstrations that you were able to search using the AI assistant and find for instance, my settings that need to be adjusted or changes to your home screen or how you’re viewing things. If you type in what you’re looking to do or change in the system, the new AI functionality will help you drive to that area where those settings or functions need to be changed. So that’s really amazing for groups that have historically not had someone who’s had maybe that level of intimate ECW knowledge on their team to be able to help direct them. Hopefully more appropriately on how to make those changes themselves as they become necessary.

Rebekah Duke: Thank you, Bailey. Bonnie, you were going to share about productive no shows, sounds like a very helpful way to plan your time.

Bonnie Rapchak: That’s one of my favorite features with the use of the AI big data, it will study your system, your scheduling habit and patients that are notorious for no shows or cancellations and it will come back and give you an analysis showing who has a higher probability of a no show. Which is going to allow you to work with those people, trying to make sure they come in, whether you call them, send more messages, or any of those types of things. So I think it’s going to be a very helpful tool.

Rebekah Duke: Let’s turn the conversation to Jordin. What new features do you think will be the most helpful to our clients with ECW?

Jordin Crystal: Well, I think one of the features that was lined out in the keynote and one of the breakout sessions was the dynamic forms. We have a lot of clients that really want to make their own custom forms similar to smart forms . It looks like with dynamic forms we’ll have the ability to make our own forms that are similar to a smart form and how the documentation is entered. It’s going to save and be documented to the note, so it will be great for our clients with procedures, updating consent forms and giving our end users more customization versus before where you would have to file a ticket if you wanted a custom form and would have to create it for you. I think having that control in our clients hands is going to be a big win.

Rebekah Duke: Bailey, can you share some more about the enhancements that came up during the conference?

Bailey Sutherland: A couple of things that I was really excited about that maybe might seem simple for some of these, but I think are things that have been asked for by practices for a long time was, the ability when you put line breaks into your progress note or your documentation as a provider. Those line breaks will stick when you actually go and lock the progress note and publish those to the patient portal. Instead of being a block of run on sentences or text those line breaks are now going to show up. Which I think just make providers feel like what they’re putting out to the patients is more professional and what they’d actually want them to see versus what was limited by functionality before.

 That’s something that’s again, simple, but something that’s exciting. I think that has been asked for for a long time. Something that’s a little bit more technology driven that people probably didn’t even know was going to be a feature functionality that came through the conference and will be coming out in the new version is the what they’re calling playlist. With a playlist, it’s essentially going to have a recorded set of steps that say, you were going to order a certain medication for a patient. This would go through the process to reduce the number of clicks that you would have to take in order to do that. It essentially is an automated way to say at a certain spot in the chart, hey, do the rest of this process. They are all over different areas of the system that could need those. So they’ve got a lot of them that are pre made for this playlist functionality and I think it’s just going to well, it might not actually speed up the process of it going through. It’s going to have to physically go through that process. You won’t have to make all those clicks yourself and can do something else with the patient in the room or at your desk as those things happen. I think that’s something that as more comes out on it, those playlists, will be super exciting. I think people will be using them frequently once they get there.

 Those are two that I think are big that aren’t something that maybe were asked for asked for previously by providers and staff. But maybe something people didn’t ever imagine ACW would, would listen and take into account for. So excited about those and what’s to come on, on both of those in this new version.

Rebekah Duke: Bonnie can you tell us what the developments are in Prisma for hospital discharge and such?

Bonnie Rapchak: So they have expanded Prisma, you’re going to be getting the external records, but the providers to do list will be actively integrated into the Prisma screen and it will pull the information from your system. It will look at any external records that exist on the patient, plus any of the payer information. So, it will give you a good insight for gaps in care and doing your pre visit planning. It’s going to allow you to merge the specifics from that to do list, such as an order or test anything like that needs to happen a smart form for completing maybe the smoking cessation. It will allow you to pull that word directly into the progress notes. So you’re not having to remember, Oh, I got to go here and do this or do that. It will be similar to the hours that are on the right chart panel, say for your problem list or lab results, those types of things.

I wanted to take a moment to circle back to AI enhancements, since it was such a major focus of the conference. Jordin, can you share what you learned?

Jordin Crystal: There were a lot of AI assistant enhancements as, you know, Bonnie and Bailey pointed out earlier. The ones that I was really excited about is the fax inbox assistant specifically one of the major pain points in ECW workflow wise is the document management process with the fax inbox. With the fax assistant the AI technology is going to be able to read the text in the document to determine a list of potential matches in the systems based off the patient’s name and date of birth listed in the document, and it can even detect if there are multiple patients detected in one file. There’s also some patient safety enhancements on that. It does put an icon there to note to the staff member that there’s more than one patient determined in this file.

In addition to that, similar to the P2P matching workflow, the. AI technology will read the document and propose some patient matches. That saves the manual process of reading everything, looking up the patient and clicking on the correct patient. The patient list would be right in front of you and the AI technology and document assistant can even categorize the document into the text. If it appears that it’s an MRI or anything, it will put it in the correct category and the user can associate it to the order right then. Which is a big deal for closing the loop on referrals and orders. That is a huge pain point for a lot of our end users. So that is going to be a big deal.

In addition to closing their loop, the referrals 360x integration with ECW also looks really promising. For now, it’s just going to be an ECW to ECW interface, but essentially, this would be a way to electronically track your referrals and even see if there’s a participating referring provider. You’ll even see when they accept it, when the patient is seen and get that documentation attached back to that original referral without any staff member needing to intervene in that process. With staff shortages after covid and, you know, just the sheer amount of referrals that most specialists are dealing with that is going to be a big deal and I think there’s more to come on that. I think it will be a lot better when other systems are pushing into it, ECW is saying for now it’s ECW to ECW, but I believe in the later part of the year they’re hoping to get other EHRs pushing out to that. A big win in my opinion.

Rebekah Duke: Yes, it’s always fascinating to see what AI can do with our EHRs. So I heard there was some discussion surrounding the AI listening tool. Bailey, can you share more about that?

Bailey Sutherland: Yeah, so what you’re referring to is called center AI and it’s ECW’s version of a speech model that will be used or able to be used by practices It’s essentially ambient listening. You would have a device in the office with yourself and the patient, if you’re a provider, that would be listening in on the conversation with your patient and yourself, and it’s going to create contextually relevant progress note out of that listening once that visit has finished, then you would click the visits over. It’s going to then transcribe that information and put it into the relevant areas of the prognosis progress note with that AI feature and you’ll have a full transcript on the right hand side. That’s everything that was said, and then that’s going to take the pieces and put them into your summary, so you can choose the sections you’d like it to document and approve on that final version. It’s going to kind of do the work for you. I think a lot of groups have Relevant concerns that I heard floating around. I don’t know that all of them will be truly something they should be concerned about at the end of the day, but it’s new technology and sometimes it can be frightening or it can be a challenge to implement. I think some things I heard from the provider side is. Will this effectively capture if I have an accent or a difference in how I speak and with the AI functionality, I think the response that you would hear from eClinicalWorks is it’s going to learn your way of speaking.

 Second thing I heard is where does all this go? Is it happening just in my EHR or is it going out into the cloud? Is it going somewhere else? Who has access to this information what ECW’s response to that is it’s all happening within your database. This is not anything that’s going out to the internet, or going anywhere else. So that’s good to know. I think data safety and security is top priority for a lot of especially larger groups, but should be for any medical practice. We want to make sure you’re compliant but this tool wouldn’t be approved if it didn’t have compliance. I think those are the 2 big ones.

A third would just be that will my providers get so used to it being correct that they may sign off on a note that was misheard by the listening device. I think that’s a relevant concern. I think it’s something that will be worked through with appropriate training and continued reading through of what that summary looks like after you’ve ended your visit with your patient is important before sign off. That’s really the biggest thing. I think you’re going to have a spectrum of how people use it and I think that will all depend how it’s best implemented.

Rebekah Duke: Yes. It will be interesting to see how that listing tool ends up being used in practices. So Bonnie, I wanted to ask you about eClinicalTouch can you give us an update on that?

Bonnie Rapchak: eClinicalTouch is coming out with a new version that is going to work both on the iPad and an iPhone. So, it will be formatted to work with the iPhone. They’ve also added dynamic free text fields it’ll expand as you need them to. They’ve added quick action icons throughout different areas in the system that are relevant to the area that you’re in. It’ll support dark mode now, and you can rotate the layout and change the font size. So your recent patient list is now expanded to 15 patients, which is kind of exciting. They have a priority tab that’s going to show all of your high priority tasks and then also any patients that have been marked as arrived.

You can configure the progress note and the OB note, both to be more relevant to your workflow. So you’ll be able to drag and move items around and have it in a certain order to suit your needs. You’ll have prisoner access, the resource schedule will allow you to have up to 10 providers on it now and let’s see patient education can be launched from the treatment window .Then your emergency contacts are going to be in the right chart panel, and they’ll be interactive to where you can send a message, make a phone call, do those types of things.

So eClinicalTouch has really kind of this, this updated version is going to make it a lot more efficient for providers using the iPads.

Rebekah Duke: Bailey, I was hoping that you could share your learnings about the business optimizer. What are the developments with EBO?

Bailey Sutherland: So I was lucky enough to attend the EBO 8.3 session during the conference. I think that’s something a lot of people were anticipating to hear what was new. With any new version release of EBO, you typically get a handful of new reports that are scanned that are available, which are exciting.

Things that people have been asking for some time are usually what’s listed in there. Things like visit type dictionary reports, visit status dictionary reports, patient wait time analysis, aging summary analysis for the RCM side. I think there was about 12 to 15 in total that were coming out for brand new reports that are coming and then we also got to see kind of how the virtual support assistant gets to be used with the portal. So you can navigate to the section with any clinical works you no longer have to login separately. That’s something that not a lot of groups were taking advantage of. It’s been available for a little while, but it was definitely highlighted during the session.

We also got to see if you can add your commonly ran reports to a dashboard right on that EBO screen and you can have your favorite as well as they’re on kind of floating tiles was what I’d call them. That’s going to give you direct access to the things you need to see most quickly. They did mention there is now 180 canned reports and 8. 3 and if you use the assistant, much like other areas of you can find what works best for you for reports. So you could ask a question of it, you can ask for certain areas or certain reports that you’re looking for, and it will give you a blue underline, direct link to the report that they think is the best fit based on what you typed in that search bar. I think that’s going to be helpful for groups trying to navigate which of those 180 hand reports are available.

 Another thing many groups do custom reports with an EBO. That’s something that not every group uses. So, those 180 canned reports work for a lot of groups, but those customizations there’s going to be some new metadata that’s available. That’s the key word there and the enhancements there are prompts. Things like last calendar week, this calendar week, next calendar week, and some new namespaces. They’re opening up that metadata a little bit for you to create your own reports that are custom and I think that’s huge.

Outside of that, I think a big thing is there is going to be a Cognos upgrade. If you know what Cognos is, you know, that’s exciting. It’s coming shortly. Other than that, I think that those are the main big pieces of EBO 8. 3 filter data sets and build visualizations using those natural language bottles, so using that AI to really help make sure you’re getting the right information into your EBO reports is, is going to be the biggest piece of the puzzle that’s new and exciting to those that don’t build custom reports. Lots of great new reports out there that I think will be exciting for groups that are not building their own and then opportunity to further customize.

Rebekah Duke: Thank you, Bailey, for getting us up to date. That reminds me, Bonnie, didn’t you go to a breakout session about RCM?

Bonnie Rapchak: The RCM side of things has a few updates that’s going to be very helpful for the billing folks. They’ve added a floating toolbar on the claims window., That floating toolbar is going to give you quick access to things like alerts, encounters, referrals, documents, actions without having to leave that, that claim window. They’ve also developed the patient cost estimator, which will create good faith estimates for your patients. It’s going to basically, you would create a template on the code, and you could also attach it to a certain visit type, so that when you schedule that particular visit type, it would automatically create the good faith estimate. It can upload it to the patient portal and will save a copy inside of the patient documents. Also, if that patient cancels, it will automatically void that estimate and again send that void to the portal and keep a copy in their documents. So that I think is very helpful. One of the other exciting features is when a patient takes a picture of the front and back of their insurance card and uploads it, whether it is a picture of the front and back of their insurance card it will then read that picture and populate the plan that’s associated to the patient and put in their ID numbers and any of those types of things.

Rebekah Duke: That segues nicely to prior authorizations, which has been a hot topic lately. Jordin, can you speak on developments with ECW in the prior authorizations process?

Jordin Crystal: With the real time benefits check and the electronic prior authorization process that’s coming to ECW, it’s going to make a more streamlined workflow for staff whenever at the time of prescribing the medication, you want to determine the real time benefits and compare prices with alternative medications in real time with the click of a button that will be shown in the updated version.

In addition to that, If a PA is required, you’ll have the ability to put in your documentation the medication is on hold and the electronic prior authorization process begins, which prior to that was mostly done on paper and all of our end users can attest to what a nightmare workflow that can be. So this is going to make it a lot more streamlined and have an electronic tracking process. Medical staff will be able to track these PAs in their e jellybean just like they do cancellations or refill requests. It’s just gonna be a lot more streamlined and faster for our end users. Hopefully they can get those PAs done and completed faster for the patient.

Rebekah Duke: Yes, a smoother PA process would be a dream come true. Thank you, Jordan. And we’re at our last question. So when can ECW users start using all these fantastic new features? And enhancements. I’ll leave that one with you, Bailey.

Bailey Sutherland: We did find that there’s actually a small contingent of users that do have a lot of the capabilities that are coming with this version release already in their beta testing. We have a couple of clients that sit in that space, they have really enjoyed new features and functionality and didn’t have a lot of complaints so far. So that’s great to hear. December 15th, the queue actually opens up to upgrade to the newest version, we’re going to see that typically cloud based users are kind of at the front of that queue. Unless you are requesting as a server hosted client to make that upgrade. Those typically come later down the pipeline, but when you request to be upgraded as soon or as close to that December 15th date as possible, you’re going to see typically that request be honored as long as there is space in the chain essentially to do those upgrades and have the support necessary. I’m excited to see what release looks like as we have a larger chunk make that move once it’s available.

Rebekah Duke: That’s our time for today. Thank you to our guests for sharing these exciting takeaways, and our audience members for taking it all in. Should you have any questions about V12 and its functionality, please reach out to us at info@medicaladvantage.com. Hope to have you back here for our next episode coming soon.

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 podcast, so you never miss a show. 

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