Achieve your Meaningful Use Goals
Why is Meaningful Use important?
‘Meaningful Use’ is the general term for the Center of Medicare and Medicaid’s (CMS’s) electronic health record (EHR) incentive programs that provide financial benefits to healthcare providers who use appropriate EHR technologies in meaningful ways; ways that benefit patients and providers alike.
Meaningful Use incentives were imbibed into law in the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, which was part of The American Reinvestment & Recovery Act (ARRA) of 2009. The aim of the HITECH Act is to modernize and improve US healthcare services by mandating effective, and beneficial use of EHR systems and electronic prescribing procedures. The motivation for mandating the use of these electronic systems is simple: when used effectively, EHRs and e-Prescribing programs benefit patients, providers, and pharmacists by streamlining workflows and safeguarding personal health information (PHI).
Why is Meaningful Use important?
The aim of the Meaningful Use incentive program is to improve the quality, efficiency, and coordination of patient care by leveraging certified EHR technologies securely and efficiently. Patient privacy and provider efficiency are at the heart of the Meaningful Use incentive program. These considerations are extremely important because badly designed, insecure, and improperly used EHRs and e-Prescribing systems pose serious data-breach, medication error, and fraud risks. These risks pose serious threats to patients and their PHI. However, when EHR and e-Prescribing systems are used securely and effectively, they can ease provider workflow problems, safeguard PHI, and improve patient outcomes.
CMS outlines specific requirements for meeting Meaningful Use goals. These requirements are distributed into stages, so that healthcare facilities and individual providers have enough time to properly implement and integrate their new EHR and e-Prescribing measures. Stage 1 requires eligible professionals to process 40% of their prescriptions electronically, with the help of a certified EHR process, and Stage 2 increases this requirement to 50%. Individual practitioners and hospitals that demonstrate a serious and meaningful adoption of EHR and e-Prescribing technologies are offered financial rewards, while those who don’t are penalized with restricted CMS funding. (Note that the Meaningful Use requirements for individual practitioners and hospitals differ significantly. For more information about these differences and the specific stages, requirements, and financial incentive programs for Meaningful Use, please see the CMS website.
How you can best achieve your Meaningful Use Goals
The key to meeting your Meaningful Use goals is using EHR and e-Prescribing systems effectively. In order to leverage the maximum effectiveness from these technologies there are some important strategic decisions you can make:
- Introduce electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS) to your clinical workflow. Controlled substances constitute a sizeable percentage of prescriptions. By adding EPCS, you can automatically increase your e-Prescribing numbers and reap additional benefits, including improved fraud-protection and increased patient satisfaction. Learn more about how EPCS can help you achieve your Meaningful Use goals here.
- Pair your EHR technology with a single sign on technology, so that your clinical workflow benefits from optimal user-switching, work-station sharing, and authentication management. SSO can vastly improve care coordination, and EHR management by allowing multiple users to update, access, and protect PHI. Learn more about how SSO can help your Meaningful Use goals here.