Beginning with the American Recovery and Re-Investment Act (ARRA) and continuing through Value Based Purchasing and Shared Savings regulations, Health Information Technology has become an increasingly important part of the healthcare landscape. Quality outcomes reporting requirements are woven throughout all of the most recently released payment reforms.The Meaningful Use (MU) program was designed to provide incentives to providers and hospitals to begin to implement and adopt the EHR systems which would lead to a nationwide electronic system where every patient has an electric health record captured and stored utilizing nationwide standards which would allow for robust information exchange and clinical decision support amongst a patient’s various providers of care.
With these goals in mind the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology (ONC) collaborated to publish rules for objectives, measures and standards which each eligible provider or hospital would need to meet in order to qualify for the incentives and avoid the penalties which are scheduled to go into effect in 2013. To see how INHS can help you achieve Meaningful Use, click here.
In the original MU plan, ONC laid out a glide path to achieve their goals that included three stages. In the first stage, the goal is for all providers and hospitals to purchase and implement a CERTIFIED complete EHR and implement workflow processes that allow for the capture of required data fields within the EHR in a coded and structured way. A set of required objectives and measures were laid which each Eligible Provider (EP) and Eligible Hospital (EH) would meet to meet in order to qualify for incentives.
Building on stage 1, the overall goal laid out for stage 2 is for EPs and EHs to now be able to exchange the coded and structured data that is being captured within the EHR and also to use this information to provide real time clinical decision support during the care of the patient.
Finally in Stage 3, with the data now being captured in a coded and structured way and exchanged between providers allowing for coordination of care and real time clinical decision support, the expectation is that a robust set of quality measure and costs capture reports be put in place to show how EPs and EHs are using the data this is captured and exchanged to lower costs and improve patient outcomes.