EHR ➤ Meaningful Use Criteria. Definition Anyone?

Hospitals and “eligible professionals” are entitled to incentive payments for the demonstrated “meaningful use” of “certified” EMR/EHR technology.

The definition of meaningful use in the statute is limited:

  • It must be meaningfully integrated into the delivery of service, including e-prescribing;
  • It must be connected to a health information exchange for improving the quality of care; and
  • It must be used to submit information on clinical quality measures.

With the exception of e-prescribing, very few systems address these basic criteria, let alone the more detailed definition of meaningful use under development. The first draft of the meaningful use criteria was published in June 2009 by the Meaningful Use Workgroup of the Health Information Technology Policy Committee, the advisory committee established to propose regulations and policies to implement the HITECH Act.

The first draft of the Meaningful Use Criteria were a surprise! There was less emphasis on the traditional functions of an EMR system, e.g., provider documentation and electronic claims submission.

There were however, criteria related to. . .

  • patient access to electronic copies of their encounter records,
  • clinical summaries,
  • lab and other test results,
  • education resources, and
  • sharing of patient information with public health authorities.

“Meaningful Use”, in addition to “Certification” may appear confusing and incomplete.

How incomplete is it?  Many details are not determined yet, neither is much published beyond the initial 24 criteria. What criteria of meaningful use do you feel are just “nuts”?

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Dr. Gunter G. Fuchs

Dr. Gunter G. Fuchs has over 30 years of clinical, administrative, consulting, acute care operations, and strategic planning experience in domestic and international healthcare.