EHR Meaningful Use Criteria

Late last year (2009), CMS released the proposed Stage 1 criteria for Meaningful Use of Electronic Health Records (EHR) for Eligible Professionals and Hospitals.  (A nice summary of the criteria prepared by my colleague, Jason Miller, is available here, as well as some other useful links)  A quick look at the criteria shows that many providers are probably already performing parts of many of the criteria.  This could be dangerous.

It’s dangerous because as providers review the criteria there will be a tendency to glaze over the items they “think” they are already performing to the standard of the criteria.  This could lead to nonconformance in meeting the criteria, which could lead to lost revenue.

To prevent this, providers should use this opportunity to take a step back and look at how their system currently works.  Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is a great tool to help this process and enable to providers to really “see” what is happening, where their current process meets the criteria and where it falls short.  Based on the results, a plan can be developed to close the gap.  VSM also allows for identification of those areas that are not adding value and can be improved.

So, while we now have a definition of Meaningful Use criteria, be careful not to glance over the criteria and assume it’s being met.  Take a honest look at what is really going on in your process, identify the opportunities and put a plan together to start improving.

Let me know your thoughts!


3 thoughts on “EHR Meaningful Use Criteria

  1. Glenn is right. The government has waved this carrot out there, but it will not be simple to receive the stimulus incentive payments. For those that have already invested in an EHR (EMR), this is a nice opportunity to recoup some of your investment. However, you may still need to do some work to qualify. It is important to understand the criteria in their entirety. This is not like a test where scoring 80 or 90 percent is sufficient. All 25 (Eligible Professionals) or 23 (Hospitals) criteria must be achieved in the specified timeframe. Also remember, this is just Stage 1. There will be enhanced criteria for Stage 2 and Stage3.

  2. Jason you could not have said it better. Meeting the criteria will not be an easy task. For example, how many practices are actually going to be able to satisfy requirement [25] Objective: Protect electronic health information maintained using certified EHR technology through the implementation of appropriate technical capabilities. Measure: Conduct or review a security risk analysis in accordance with the requirements under 45 CFR 164.308 (a)(1) and implement security updates as necessary. This alone is a huge undertaking when you consider all of the conditions that the eligible professional must satisfy under the various requirements.
    So it is imperative for each professional do their homework and due diligence when they select their EMR software, have a plan before you purchase, and deal with a vendor that can show you how they will be able to meet the meaningful use criteria for all stages.

  3. Related to EHR/EMR, if not this discussion directly, the Jonathan Rauch article “If Air Travel Worked like Health Care” is now a video. It drags a little (at 7-min long) but it’s till worth watching.

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