GE Healthcare has identified glitches in its electronic health-record system report-writing products that may affect customers seeking federal EHR incentive payments, according to an alert from the company.
GE alerts users to glitches in EHR report-writing products
An undated message to customers from Michael Friguletto, vice president and general manager of GE Healthcare, explained that the company "recently became aware of inaccuracies with reports in Centricity Practice Solution and Centricity Electronic Medical Record (EMR) that may affect customers who have attested or are currently planning to attest for meaningful use" through the Medicare program.
Centricity Practice Solution is an integrated practice management and EMR software product, while Centricity EMR is an EHR system, both for ambulatory care. According to GE Healthcare's Centricity Web page, 30,000 clinicians nationwide use Centricity EMR.
Friguletto, in a telephone interview, said a customer told GE about the problems "a few weeks back" and that the company checked it out internally before sending an alert last week to "several hundred" provider organizations that are using certified EHR systems. Friguletto said he didn't know how many individual physicians were affected or how many had already attested as meaningful users. GE also notified the CMS and the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology, the federally recognized certification body, about the problem, he said.
In his letter to customers, Friguletto said, "The inaccuracies that we have identified may affect the results you obtained from the Crystal Reports or Medical Quality Improvement Consortium (MQIC) reporting tools for meaningful use," Friguletto said in the letter. "The inaccuracies affect some of the meaningful-use reporting measures. The underlying clinical data and logic of the electronic medical-record system remain sound."
Crystal Reports is a report-writing software tool now owned by SAP. The MQIC is a GE-run data pooling and analysis group (PDF).
Specific problem areas identified in a seven-page summary also involve data entry pertaining to smoking cessation, patient condition-specific educational materials and a patient's race and ethnicity. According to a statement from GE (DOC), "refinements to many of the meaningful-use functional measure reports are necessary."
In his letter, Friguletto advised customers who have not yet attested in 2011 as meaningful users to "run the reports again for your particular attestation period" after the company provides software updates, expected to be released in November.
"If your results are different from those used for attestation, you may need to evaluate if you have still cleared all applicable meaningful-use thresholds for the original period or would meet the thresholds for all applicable measures (not only those that may have changed in the initial reporting period) for a later reporting period in 2011," Friguletto said in the letter. "We are working with CMS to identify what you may need to do if the data used to support your attestation have changed, and we will provide you with this information when we release the updated reports."
Physicians were allowed in April to begin attesting to the CMS that they had achieved 90 days of meaningful use of a certified EHR system. The first year of Stage 1 eligibility under Medicare ends Dec. 31. Physicians and other eligible providers have up to 60 days after that deadline to attest that they have completed 90 consecutive days of meaningful use in the preceding calendar year to be eligible for payments under this year's program.
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