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Lauren Bellon

Although the final ruling on meaningful use provides a clear HIT path to follow, it seems the [journey] is bound to be a slow one. And it may not be a path that leads to ultimate HIT nirvana.

Plenty of opportunities remain to optimize work fl ow and standardize processes that will improve, in a very real and measurable way, patient safety beyond the established meaningful-use criteria. Even in healthcare facilities with EMR/EHR systems deployed, a significant percentage of patient charts may still exist on paper or as unstructured data. Forms, legacy patient documents, physicians’ orders and insurance cards support the patient’s medical record. For that patient record to be truly meaningful, it must be comprehensive. It must include all patient data that lives both in and outside of the EMR. This is enterprise content management’s (ECM’s) role in healthcare, and more healthcare providers are realizing ECM’s place as a strategic asset in their meaningful-use strategies.

ery real and

Whether one or many bodies of certifi cation and standards emerge, the bigger challenge is that a certifi ed EMR does not guarantee meaningful use.

Betty Otter-Nickerson Since the inception of healthcare

IT, standards have been a necessity within in the industry; in order for systems to talk to one another, they need to speak the same language. Government-initiated standards, such as the CCR and CCD, were created to stimulate demand for electronic exchange of clinical data – not because there was particular demand in the market, but because the ability to exchange clinical data is the ultimate goal of the EHR. When the HITECH dust settles, the need for government-initiated or government-led standards should decrease and market-driven standards should return. As a result of HITECH, all EHRs are required to be functionally equivalent to be certifi ed. Past the initial certifi cation for baseline functionality, the need for further certifi cation will decrease as the focus turns in Stages 2 and 3 from fostering adoption to fostering interoperability and eventually analyzing and improving outcomes.

se there was

Tom Stephenson The government’s role will continue

to increase. As government pushes for more accountability regarding quality and outcomes, that activity will be predicated on hospitals having the information systems and the reporting. There is also interest being shown by Congress in making sure that clinical systems function properly and are current with evidence-based medicine. The government has told us that there will be multiple certifying bodies, perhaps for competitive reasons or to handle the volume of certifi cations or convenience. Regardless, we believe there will be several [bodies]; only time will tell if one emerges as the lead certifi er.

ce t with Kelly Feist

The HITECH Act, as it is written, is intended to drive the increased adoption and utilization of healthcare information technology. The expectation is that this increased adoption will have the subsequent impact of improving the quality and decreasing the cost of care delivery.

Appropriate utilization of healthcare resources, including diagnostic testing, is a signifi cant lever in decreasing the cost of care delivered.

e r ces

As the single largest payer for healthcare services in the country, the federal government stands to gain signifi cant benefi ts if the clinical and economic expectations of meaningful use are realized.

Doug Bilbrey The HITECH initiative holds

great promise if implemented as contemplated by the legislation, specifi cally in the areas of improved effi ciency, delivery of healthcare and cost. Improving access to test results could eliminate unnecessary tests. After a couple of years, organizations will be held accountable. As the consumers of healthcare become more knowledgeable, provider organizations will be evaluated on the quality and cost [of their systems]. Organizations that work well as an integrated delivery system will be more successful than those that don’t.

onsumers of HEALTH MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY October 2010 9

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