Oxygen e-template inches forward

Friday, April 1, 2016

WASHINGTON – Efforts to develop an electronic template for oxygen have taken an important step forward, but there’s still “a long way to go,” says AAHomecare.

“We’ve been saying it’d be great if we could work with CMS and an EHR to incorporate required data elements,” said Kim Brummett, vice president of regulatory affairs for the association.

And that happened in March, when the association hosted a conference call with CMS; EPIC Software, an electronic health record system that is widely used by healthcare systems; and two HME providers to discuss developing a pilot for an oxygen e-template.

“We’re putting together the stages of the pilot—how do we prove success,” said Brummett.

The goal of the pilot is to create an order for oxygen therapy, with clinical documentation and documentation of lab values, and to find a way to incorporate that information into EPIC, Brummett said.

CMS has for some time been considering e-templates for not only oxygen concentrators, but also power mobility devices and lower limb prostheses. While HME provider opinions are often mixed on whether or not e-templates would be helpful, there’s little doubt that health care is shifting in that direction, they say.

“I am in favor of anything that can standardize the ordering process,” said Steve Ackerman, owner of Spectrum Medical in Silver Spring, Md.“I’ve seen many companies that are looking to get portals installed so we can have the interoperability with our bigger referral sources.”

HME providers that have close ties with health systems and physician practices and that have worked with their IT programs and EPIC to incorporate all the needed items on orders and documentation have seen some success, Brummett said.

“But they are working system by system,” she said. “Really, we’ve got a long way to go.”