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. “The key to meaningful use is to know how to measure for performance and to be able to give feedback to providers,” he said at an October 2009 conference sponsored by the National Quality Forum, which promotes and develops quality measures. The requirements for meaningful use in 2011 are tasks that many providers already perform. You must send prescriptions to pharmacies electronically. Your EMR must connect to other EMRs, such as those at hospitals and other provider practices. You must submit statistical information on quality of care to the government so it can determine if EMRs are improving the health care system. However, for 2013 and 2015 meaningful use will increasingly support improved patient outcomes, said Paul Tang, vice chairman of the Health IT Policy Committee, a public-private panel that advises the national health IT coordinator. The changing requirements are a poor reason to delay implementing an EHR (and missing out on significant incentive payments). Any EHR you implement will likely include upgrades to meet changing meaningful use requirements. So act now! Planning for a transition to an EMR is important and with hundreds of thousands of practices moving to an EMR there could be a wait—particularly as 2011 approaches.

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. “The key to meaningful use is to know how to measure for performance and to be able to give feedback to providers,” he said at an October 2009 conference sponsored by the National Quality Forum, which promotes and develops quality measures.

The requirements for meaningful use in 2011 are tasks that many providers already perform.

  • You must send prescriptions to pharmacies electronically.
  • Your EMR must connect to other EMRs, such as those at hospitals and other provider practices.
  • You must submit statistical information on quality of care to the government so it can determine if EMRs are improving the health care system.

However, for 2013 and 2015 meaningful use will increasingly support improved patient outcomes, said Paul Tang, vice chairman of the Health IT Policy Committee, a public-private panel that advises the national health IT coordinator.

The changing requirements are a poor reason to delay implementing an EHR (and missing out on significant incentive payments). Any EHR you implement will likely include upgrades to meet changing meaningful use requirements.

So act now! Planning for a transition to an EMR is important and with hundreds of thousands of practices moving to an EMR there could be a wait—particularly as 2011 approaches.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.