Acumen 2.0 Powered by Epic for Nephrology Practices

Acumen 2.0 powered by Epic is the next-generation EHR and practice management solution for large practices. Now and into the future, you can count on the same level of personal support and customer service.

This partnership between the two largest providers of electronic health records in the country will allow nephrology providers to easily communicate with skilled physicians, hospitals, laboratories and national pharmacy companies. The platform will also improve systems interoperability, data sharing and care coordination.

Nephrology-specific clinical content and workflows

During the past year, Acumen has done a lot of trimming and refining of the EHR user interface to optimize features to meet nephrology-specific clinical and practice management needs. In partnership with Epic, Acumen has been able to provide robust nephrology-focused user interfaces and features on a powerful platform.

A significant upgrade to current health IT products, Acumen 2.0 will enable nephrology practices to be successful in this changing era of healthcare. The product will offer a variety of nephrology-focused features, including data sharing and interoperability and care coordination.

Nephrologists and their staff have long reported frustrations with EHR systems that do not provide a seamless experience in clinical and financial workflows. To address this, Acumen partnered with Epic to develop Acumen 2.0.

The result of this partnership is a comprehensive and feature-rich clinical system for nephrology practices that allows for seamless workflows, patient and physician communication and access to critical health information. The product is designed to support nephrology practices in their transition to value-based care models.

Content, rules, and alerts have been developed specific to nephrology practice workflow, which are embedded in the provider workflow. This enables physicians to easily remember important protocols and documentation imperatives while working in the EHR. Examples of these include SmartSets (intuitive documentation) and best practice alerts that remind providers of certain actions based on patient status, such as referring a CKD stage 4 patient for dialysis options education or recommending hepatitis B immunizations.

In addition, Acumen 2.0 includes custom reports developed specifically for CKD patient management that support optimal outcomes and transitions to dialysis, palliative care, or other care settings as needed. The program also includes Hierarchical Condition Category (HCC) coding to reflect the medical complexity of a patient’s disease state.

Fresenius Medical Care North America, a subsidiary of Fresenius Medical Care, commissioned Acumen to modernize its EHR software for its nephrology practices. After a rigorous selection process, the practice chose Acumen 2.0 to help it achieve its goals for 2015 recertification and to prepare it for the future. In addition, the team wanted a clinical solution that would support the integration of nephrologists with their practice management.

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Data sharing and interoperability

Data sharing and interoperability are critical components of the health IT landscape. They allow healthcare systems to connect and share patient information with other care providers, and they can also be used to improve performance and manage cost.

While the healthcare industry is increasingly moving towards digital solutions, there are still many barriers to digital health IT adoption. Among them is a lack of consumer understanding of available technology options and an under-utilization of secure, digital communication methods like direct secure messaging, FHIR and cloud faxing technologies.

Despite these challenges, Fresenius Kidney Care has been working to advance the use of health IT and interoperability. Their efforts include a patient-centered interoperability initiative known as “Share Everywhere.” This technology enables patients to control their own access to personal health data via their smartphones.

As a result, this technology is helping dialysis patients get more access to their personal health information and allowing them to share it with other providers. This is a crucial step in the transition from paper to digital healthcare.

In addition, this interoperability technology is helping nephrologists to track patient history and provide better care. It also helps them to streamline their clinical and practice workflows.

With Acumen 2.0, nephrologists can easily access their patient’s history and share it with their team, which will help them make better decisions and improve patient outcomes. The software is easy to use and is designed to be customizable to the needs of nephrologists.

Another advantage of Acumen 2.0 is that it was developed on a powerful platform from Epic, which is known for its broad presence in hospital and physician practices. This means nephrologists will have a simpler learning curve to transition from their current EHR to the new one and will be able to take advantage of Epic’s feature sets that support care coordination, population health management and meeting MACRA requirements.

As nephrology practices continue to adopt value-based models of care, it is important for them to have access to powerful software that can help them implement these strategies effectively. This is why Acumen partnered with Epic to deliver a more robust software solution. Having the ability to leverage the existing Epic footprint and capabilities will save nephrology practices time and resources.

MyChart portal and Care Everywhere network

Aside from the standard Epic software, RCA also has access to a wide variety of other electronic health records via the company’s Care Everywhere network. Using a single unified interface, RCA has access to a myriad of data sets to support patient, physician and staff workflows. Among the more interesting are clinically relevant registries that allow providers to view and manage their populations in the most meaningful way possible. A large, well-trained, and competent support team also helps keep the system running smooth. RCA has also learned to harness the power of big data and cloud computing to improve patient satisfaction, reduce readmissions and boost profitability.

RCA has been an Acumen customer for over three years and has a sizable population of patients with complex needs ranging from chronic kidney disease (CKD) to resistant hypertension. From its central Illinois base in four primary office pods, 14 dialysis facilities and a handful of hospitals across the region, RCA provides care to patients from all walks of life.

Patient portal

The Patient Portal in Acumen 2.0 is a web-based application that allows patients or authorized representatives of the patient to access their clinical information. This includes their appointments, health record, medications, allergies, problems, lab results, vital signs, and more. It also includes a secure messaging system that enables patients to send messages to their provider’s office.

Patient portals are becoming a common feature in many healthcare organizations because they facilitate patient engagement and increase satisfaction with their care. However, they can be a challenge to implement for a variety of reasons. First, patients are often reluctant to use them because of concerns about privacy and security. Second, they may not have enough knowledge of how to use them.

Therefore, it is critical to make sure that patients are able to use their portals effectively. This is best accomplished by ensuring that the portal’s user interface (UI) is intuitive and easy to navigate.

In addition, designing the portal with health literacy considerations in mind is an important step toward successful implementation. This is because certain health topics (eg, medications and lab results) can be difficult to understand for patients who do not have a medical background.

To help address these issues, Monkman & Kushniruk [88] proposed a specific heuristic that helps identify the type of clinical information that would most likely be misunderstood by patients with minimal or no health knowledge. In turn, this heuristic can be used to identify specific areas that require additional attention when developing the UI of a patient portal.

Ideally, the patient portal would be adapted to meet specific needs and interests of each individual. This would include an assessment of the patient’s individual health, personal goals and expectations. It would then be possible to tailor content and presentation to enhance interpretation and comprehension of key personal health concerns and relevant action steps.

In addition to facilitating patient engagement, the Patient Portal in Acumen 2.0 enables providers to share data and notes electronically for the purpose of care through Epic’s connected community of 405 health care organizations that cover 41,200 clinics, 1,950 hospitals, and over 336,000 physicians. This improves visibility to longitudinal patient records and enables providers to make better care decisions, reduce care duplication, and increase efficiency.

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