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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Free medical Spanish resource

Hola! Need some help with your medical Spanish? Check out http://www.practicingspanish.com, a free resource created by a Virginia woman who has worked as a surgeon in South America and now teaches Spanish, as well as anatomy and physiology, in the United States.

The interactive web site provides "free medical Spanish immersion, with vocabulary including greetings, history, examination, and everyday speech, all with translation and audio. It is designed to be helpful for a variety of medical personnel. In addition to introducing Spanish medical terms, this site will hopefully improve fluency and even cultural competency."

Monday, January 25, 2010

The doctor will see you now -- or tonight or tomorrow or this weekend or online

Some interesting data about access to care in family medicine practices, according to a recent AAFP survey of active members (Practice Profile I, September 2009, 1,156 responses):

  • 62 percent offer open access (same-day) scheduling
  • 43 percent offer extended office hours
  • 30 percent offer e-mail with patients
  • 16 percent offer online scheduling of appointments
  • 10 percent offer group visits
  • 6 percent offer web-based consults or e-visits

The survey found statistically significant increases from 2008 in all but two of the areas listed above -- extended office hours and group visits. Look for the trend to continue as the demand for primary care continues to outpace the supply of primary care physicians, more so if health care reform succeeds in expanding coverage to 31 million Americans.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

EHR incentive payments: How to qualify -- and should you bother?

The proposed criteria for "meaningful use" of electronic health records (EHRs), which providers will need to meet to qualify for up to $44,000 in federal incentives, are "too high and too many," according to an executive at Catholic Healthcare West, the eighth largest hospital system in the nation, known as a leader in health care IT.

If that doesn't dissuade you from seeking the federal incentives, blogger Chris Thorman offers a helpful table that outlines the meaningful-use measures the government will use to decide whether you qualify for the incentives. Measures include "At least 50% of all clinical lab tests results are incorporated as structured data," "Implement five clinical decision support rules relevant to the clinical quality metrics the eligible provider is responsible for" and "Insurance eligibility checked electronically for at least 80% of all unique patients" -- and these are just year-one measures. They get tougher by year five.

Don't miss an upcoming editorial in FPM in which health IT guru David Kibbe explains why he thinks physicians should steer clear of the federal EHR incentive program.

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The views expressed here are those of the individual authors. They do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Family Practice Management (FPM) or the AAFP. The FPM blogs are not intended to provide medical, financial or legal advice. For more information see Terms of Use.