Effectively leveraging health IT for optimized care delivery.
The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) of 2009 made the use of electronic health records (EHRs) a national priority, transforming the practice and delivery of healthcare in our country. Meaningful use of technology is encouraged by the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs which reward participants who adopt certified technology and use it to achieve specific performance measures that support the overarching program goals of:
- Improving quality, safety, efficiency and reducing health disparities
- Engaging patients and their families in healthcare
- Improving care coordination
- Ensuring adequate privacy and security protections for personal health information
- Improving population and public health
Meaningful use spans multiple years and consists of 3 graduated stages with evolving requirements for participants and for technology vendors. Once designated as a meaningful user, participants are expected to sustain compliance with the progressing measures, fully capitalizing on the increased capabilities offered by their EHR.
How Meaningful Use is transforming healthcare
The Impact of Meaningful Use on patient safety, quality and coordination of care. Stage 1 set a baseline for electronic capture of structured data and information sharing. Things like patient demographics, diagnoses, medications, allergies, and lab test results, are required to be documented in patient records in commonly structured ways. Conditional system alerts use this data to improve patient safety and care quality by warning providers of potential drug interactions, patient allergies, formulary options and rules that support better clinical decision making.
Stage 2 accelerates information exchange between healthcare providers, advances the incorporation of clinical decision support aides and promotes patient engagement and shared decision making. Beginning in 2014, EHR products must be certified to meet these new standards.
We anticipate many positive impacts on patient care:
- For patients that are treated by multiple providers, meaningfully using EHRs enables the timely, authorized, electronic exchange of clinical information among the professional healthcare team contributing to improved care coordination for the patient.
- Information such as the patient’s problem lists, diagnostic test results, allergies, medication names and current dosages can be quickly shared ensuring all providers have up-to- date patient information and clinical evidence to inform their treatment determination, facilitate appropriate prescriptive decisions and reduce unnecessary or inappropriate medical tests.
- Patients will have more timely and easy access to their healthcare information, helping them to navigate the health system and take greater responsibility for their own health and well-being.
Members of our team have undergone extensive education on the Meaningful Use program and technology requirements. Our direct access to Meaningful Use program leaders at CMS and at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) along with our involvement in a nationwide learning network of 61 peer programs across the country keep us at the forefront of Meaningful Use conversations.
Our team works closely with numerous certified EHR vendors not only learning the specific nuances of each product but also helping our clients resolve complex issues with their vendors.
Our team of trusted advisors have helped thousands of providers to analyze the office workflows driving each measure, understand the intent of each objective and change practice to not only understand and comply with the Meaningful Use program but more importantly, capitalize on it.