Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"Meaningful Use" Finally Defined

It is widely recognized that the widespread use of the electronic health record is inevitable. We believe it will improve the quality of care if used appropriately... and that it is necessary to accomplish our goal of clinical integration.

In order to incentivize the use of an electronic health record (EHR) / electronic medical record (EMR), the government, through the Health Information Technology for Economic Clinical Health Act (HITECH) has offered a subsidy as part of the stimulus package. This subsidy will provide payment of up to $44,000 per physician.

However, the mere adoption of the EHR is not enough to qualify for this payment. The particular EHR chosen must qualify for meaningful use. The concept is simple enough, but the details were not put forth. What exactly is "meaningful use"? Without a firm understanding, the possibility of spending an inordinate or time, energy and resources (read- money) on an EMR and not qualifying for the subsidy continued... until now.

Finally, there is something concrete to sink our teeth into.... No matter how big your appetite is... The 864 page definition is available for your perusal. But, if you are like me and just may not have the time to digest War and Peace this document, you may want to check out the condensed version by Dr David Blumenthal and published online by the New England Journal of Medicine.

While our EMR offering is forthcoming, the plan to ensure that all Beacon IPA members will be positioned to qualify for meaningful use and the associated government subsidy is on underway!

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