25 Meaningful Use Criteria

The government has released its long-awaited definition of meaningful use—in a lengthy proposed regulation entitled “ Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Electronic Health Record Incentive Program .” As you probably know, health care professionals can receive incentive payments for implementing an electronic health record (EHR), but they must demonstrate meaningful use of the EHR. What that means, exactly, has been unclear until now.

A defining moment: Final meaningful use and certification definitions proposed

Two big announcements have been made in regard to electronic health records (EHRs). The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued its draft definition of “meaningful use” , and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has issued an interim final rule on certification criteria . Meaningful use The meaningful use definition describes the proposed criteria for achieving meaningful use.

Overcoming obstacles to EHR implementation

The federal government is determined to see that every American has an electronic health record (EHR) by 2014—but many physicians are still wary of implementing one. While physicians generally recognize an EHR’s ability to improve patient care and reduce costs, they struggle with the financial and technical hurdles it takes to successfully implement one.

EHRs may increase physician drug safety reporting

As many physicians struggle with the financial and technical hurdles it takes to successfully implement an EHR, it’s easy to forget the reason the federal government is pushing for EHRs in the first place: improvement in health care. Case in point: A recent study shows physicians are more likely to report drug side effects through an EHR than they are through traditional paper reporting.

Do it right the first time when implementing an EHR

By now you’ve heard that implementing an electronic health record (EHR) early is key to success. Not only will you be able to take advantage of all federal financial incentives, you’ll also be up and running before the rush to implement likely hits in 2010 or 2011—and of course, you’ll receive all of the benefits of an EHR sooner.

Why implement an EMR now?

Physician practices that wait until next year to implement an EMR will face a high risk of failing to achieve meaningful use in time for the 2011 and 2012 federal incentives, according to Mark Leavitt, chairman of the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology.

An update on meaningful use

As you probably know by now, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) includes significant incentives for medical professionals who provide Medicare or Medicaid services and use an electronic medical record (EMR)—but to be eligible, you have to be a “meaningful user”. According to National Health IT Coordinator David Blumenthal, MD, quality measures are at the heart meaingful use.

Medicare incentive payments for EHR use clarified

As most physicians know by now, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) provides incentive payments for physicians who treat Medicare patients. Physicians are not required to treat a minimum number of Medicare patients in order to be eligible for the incentive payments.