Defining Meaningful Use
Think back a few years ago. Remember the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009? You may not remember it by its exact name; just think Healthcare Reform. Basically, the Act provides for payments to be made to eligible providers, hospitals, and critical access centers (participating in Medicare and Medicaid programs) that "adopt and successfully demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health records." The documentation for the incentive program is 276 pages, like most government programs, so sorting through it can be a bit combersome.
As for defining meaningful use, there are three parts to the definition:
1. Providers should use a certified EHR in a "meaningful" or useful way, such as e-prescribing;
2. Providers should be able to connect and exchange patient health information through the certified EHR to improve the quality of patient care (i.e. provider to hospital, provider to provider); and
3. Providers using certified EHR technology should report to the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary, clinical quality measures (selected by the Secretary) that demonstrate the use of their EHR technology in a meaningful way.
What it all boils down to...if you see Medicare or Medicaid patients and you want incentive payments for using EHR, then you have to report to the government on how you're using it.
As mentioned above, the clincal quality measures that providers must report on are clearly defined by the Secretary. In my next post, I'll explain what those measures are.