In Maryland, Management Service Organizations (MSOs) are going to help deal with the challenges that occur when providers adopt EHRs. The MSOs will help with cost containment issues and help providers maintain their systems.
State Designated MSOs will enable physicians to access a patient’s record wherever access to the internet exists. MSOs will enable EHRs to be hosted in a centralized secure data center away from the physician’s office and the MSOs will assume the responsibility for managing privacy and security. Also, technical support usually extends beyond the standard business hours and in some cases is available 24/7.
In addition, according to legislation passed in the Maryland General Assembly in 2009, the Maryland Health Care Commission is required to designate one or more MSOs by October 1, 2012. If physicians adopt EHRs through an MSO, they will then be able to exchange information through the statewide HIE.
MSOs can be collaborations among provider groups, hospitals, or other entities that work together to mitigate the costs associated with acquiring EHRs and other services.
In order to reduce costs, MSOs can secure more favorable pricing for their subscribers since the average cost of a client server EHR system is around $53,000 per physician over three years. However, the average cost of a MSO hosted EHR is around $28,800 per physician over three years plus MSOs will assume the vendor negotiating role.
The MHCC designated the multi-stakeholder group “Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients (CRISP) to build the statewide Health Information Exchange. CRISP was awarded $6.4 million through the Office of the National Coordinator for HIT to build the HIE. Health care providers using EHRs that seek payment from a state regulated payer must adopt EHRs that are certified and capable of connecting to the HIE by January 1, 2015. MSOs will help by offering connection to the statewide HIE and eventually to NHIN.
Practices may be able to seek additional monetary incentives if they adopt a certified EHR through a state designated MSO and then connect to the HIE For more information, go to http://mhcc.maryland.gov or to http://crisphealth.org.