Standards Panel Backs Quality Measures for ‘Meaningful Use’

On Tuesday, the Health IT Standards Committee approved quality measures and standards for how health care providers can demonstrate “meaningful use” of electronic health records by 2011, Government Health IT reports.

The standards panel endorsed a matrix of 27 quality measures and 12 standards that build on each other to improve patient outcomes. The standards call for health care providers to use health IT tools for transmitting:

  • Continuity of care documents;
  • Discharge summaries;
  • Inpatient and outpatient prescriptions;
  • Laboratory test results; and
  • Other structured health data.

The committee said health providers who have not yet adopted EHR technology could use certain unstructured data for 2011, provided that they work to eventually meet structured data standards.

John Halamka, co-chair of the Standards Committee, said the panel attempted to provide “comfort levels” to encourage physician compliance with the standards and quality measures. He said future criteria will require health care providers to meet stricter standards.

The standards panel also suggested that meaningful use criteria require health care providers to fully comply with HIPAA privacy and security rules by 2011 .

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