Who has bugs? Everyone.
Microsoft has bugs. Lots of them. It seems like once a week my personal computer is updating Windows when I want to submit a quick Amazon Prime reorder of paper towels and sunscreen. No software is bug-free, including software that digitizes and automates thousands of manual practice administration, billing, and clinical workflow functions. And, every software warrants enhancements. This is especially true rapidly evolving medical space where new regulations are released almost monthly, clinical workflows need to adjust quickly to accommodate medical innovation, patient, and practice needs, and operational and financial management becomes crucial to maintaining practice profitability and independence.
While every software has bugs and could always do something more or different, it’s important to understand how we partner with you to launch new features and address issues. Your MicroMD Product Management, Development, and QA teams strive to introduce new efficiency features, timely and certified regulatory functionality, and fixes all intended to help your practice get back to the business of healing. Take the new CMS Medicare Quality Payment Program (QPP). Not only do eligible providers first need to understand the program requirements, eligibility, timing, reporting methods, and potential impact both to participation (and potentially not participating), but they also need to understand how their EMR technology vendor will help them maximize participation through current certification, integrated, interoperable tools, education, training, and support.
How do we approach enhancements and fixes?
As an EMR vendor, we’re currently laser focused on helping providers maximize both QPP and EHR Incentive Program participation to maximize payment adjustments and incentives. Not only do the MicroMD tools need to be developed and launched in a timely manner, but they also need to be certified to verify that they do what regulations and programs require them to do. We’re closer than ever to launching Version 13.5 of the MicroMD EMR software with 2015 Edition CHERT, well in advance of 2018 QPP and EHR Incentive Program requirements. But, getting there is a journey. Along the way, we’re staying abreast of payment program and other industry requirements where MicroMD can (and sometimes must) offer features and functionality to help meet requirements – often years in advance.
In an effort to meet aggressive date requirements, we often start coding the software well in advance of deadlines often based on requirements not yet fully defined or finalized by the organizations that require them. Then we must monitor the industry for changes and often go back and fix or add things once a requirement is fully defined or finalized. We test the new functionality internally. For certified items, we need to schedule, complete, and pay for external certification through approved certification bodies. We create supporting software documentation, training, and support tools. Then we can finally schedule upgrades, train clients on new functionality, and answer questions for you as you need support.
One of our goals as your trusted advisor is to instill confidence in our feature release roadmap (Product Management), software coding (Development), testing (Quality Assurance), and bug fix (Support) processes. Please read on to learn about how your MicroMD teams collaborate with users, regulatory experts, certification bodies, vendor partners, and each other. We’ve been successful in working with clients to identifying issues and enhancements, communicating workarounds, as well as any kind of impact that you should monitor, track, document, and/or fix. We’ll continue to address your evolving needs to ensure you can maximize participation in the changing payment and incentive programs and be efficient and effective in your patient engagement, provider-to-provider communications, and profitability initiatives.
New Features & Functionality
- Like any software, we receive many feature requests. Some features are industry requirements. Some make sense for everyone. Others may only be useful for one specialty, practice, or person. This is why we conduct an inclusive request and comprehensive review process to ensure we launch new functionality and tools that can help the most practices and providers.
- Register for MyVoice for MicroMD to participate in the feature request process.
- Major Versions: Typically have critical or complex features, eSERVICE integrations, or certifications. These major releases are planned by Product Management, coded by the Development Team, and tested from end-to-end by the Quality Assurance team before being made available to clients who are willing to actively participate in Beta testing of the software prior to GA (General) release
- Cloud Upgrades: Cloud clients are typically upgraded 1 month after the GA release of each version; clients are notified in advance of upgrades and any anticipated downtime via Client Alert email
- Maintenance Releases: Typically released at least once per quarter and contain minor bug fixes, features and enhancements slated for release in between version releases, and/or custom development
- Emergency Bug Fixes: Quick hit releases to address critical issues that impact safety, payments, or regulatory requirements. Any changes made in these emergency versions are rolled into the next version so resolutions are available in all future versions
- Critical: Reported issues and feature requests with the potential to impact patient safety, payments, and regulatory requirements; these are priority
- Minor Bugs: An item with no patient safety, revenue, or regulatory impact, like an field title misspelling
- Client Specific: Challenging to replicate in multiple clients; often we need to work with you closely to clearly identify if something is truly a software issue or some other environmental issue
I hope this overview helps debug some of the mystery that often surrounds software features and fixes. Your MicroMD team is dedicated to ensuring you have the most current tools in a timely manner to meet the changing pace of medicine. I urge you to stay in the MicroMD Communication loop by ensuring signing up to receive “Client Alert” emails to be notified of new versions, upgrades, fixes, eSERVICES, and educational resources and events.
– Kristen Heffernan