Returning from HIMSS 09

I have just returned from the HIMSS Conference(yesterday) where the main topic of conversation was ARRA and the healthcare IT stimulus package. I thought I would update you and give you an indication where you may as an EHR user be positioned in this arena.

An eligible professional (physician) will receive incentive payments as specified in the legislation, for the first five years (2011 -2015), for demonstrating a meaningful use of EHR technology and demonstrating performance during the reporting period for each payment year. If an eligible professional does not demonstrate meaningful use by 2015, his/her reimbursement payments under Medicare will begin to be reduced. No incentive payment will be made after 2016.

So what constitutes ” meaningful use” of an EHR ?

Well firstly it means that the professional uses certified EHR technology in a meaningful manner, which shall include the use of electronic prescribing. Secondly,  it means that the certified EHR technology is connected in a manner that provides for the electronic exchange of health information to improve the quality of health care, such as promoting care coordination. Thirdly, a “meaningful user” needs to submit information electronically on clinical quality measures.

The EHR also needs to be certified. What does this mean? Certified EHR technology means an EHR that is certified to meeting standards pursuant to this Act. To be qualified as a certified EHR technology, the certified technology must include includes patient demographic and clinical health information, such as medical history and problem lists, and has the capacity to provide clinical decision support to support physician order entry, to capture and query information relevant to healthcare quality, and to exchange electronic health information with, and integrate such information from other sources.

Are you using an EHR?  If so, are you meeting some or all of the parameters as outlined above?

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