Health Policy

‘Meaningful Use’ the first definition

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HIT Policy committee released its initial recommendations for defining ‘meaningful use’ of electronic health records. The definition is important because under the economic stimulus law, providers must ‘meaningfully use’ EHRs to receive financial incentives from Medicare and Medicaid. The recommendations given did not include a formal definition of meaningful use. They are just the initial recommendations of the functions that will be required by 2011 when incentives start. David Blumenthal, M.D., the national coordinator for health information technology, during a meeting of the HIT Policy Committee, a public-private advisory group told that the committee has a long way to go before the final definition of meaningful use was achieved.

22 objectives were covered through workgroup initially, covering inpatient and outpatient care for EHR in 2011. These included use CPOE for all order types including medications; implement drug-drug, drug-allergy and drug-formulary checks; maintain an up-to-date problem list; generate and transmit permissible prescriptions electronically; maintain an active medication allergy list; send reminders to patients per their preference for preventive and follow-up care; document a progress note for each encounter; provide patients with an electronic copy or electronic access to clinical information such as lab results, problem list, medication lists and allergies; provide clinical summaries for patients for each encounter; exchange key clinical information among providers of care; perform medication reconciliation at relevant encounters; submit electronic data to immunization registries where required and accepted; provide electronic submissions of reportable lab results to public health agencies; provide electronic surveillance data to public health agencies according to applicable law and practice; and comply with federal and state privacy/security laws and the fair data sharing practices in HHS’ Nationwide Privacy and Security Framework, released in December 2008.

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