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!