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Cover Story: Roundup


It’s like the old joke: “Meaningful use? You can’t get there from here.” Meaningful use is a noun, not a verb Kevin Ketzel,

national vice president, dispensing technologies, CareFusion

The meaning behind meaningful use is achieving sustainable improvements in healthcare quality to help deliver the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) vision of better patient care at a lower cost. Heath IT and secure health information exchange between providers and medical devices across the episode of care is core to transforming our delivery system. Electronic health

records (EHR) adoption and electronic reporting of clinical quality measures is the starting point. The full scope for meaningful use should be more clearly articulated now so stakeholders understand what is expected of them to reach the end goal of a National

Health Information Network. Stages 2 and 3 criteria should be defi ned earlier than currently anticipated. It’s critical that implementation allows suffi cient time to ensure newly interoperable systems and devices are functioning correctly and optimally connected to avoid medical errors and eliminate ineffi cient workfl ows that create unnecessary costs. The U.S. healthcare system’s future will be defi ned by how we use IT to enable better data capture, quality improvement and population-based patient care. Meaningful use is signifi cantly improved for all stakeholders when medical devices and EHRs have achieved interoperability. The early stages of meaningful use appear to have overlooked some building blocks for device interoperability and actionable intelligence across the patient episode of care. To deliver on the promise of better care at a lower cost, it’s imperative we recognize meaningful use is a noun, not a verb. Meaningful use describes a place we are going with health IT.

Tackling the meaningful-use challenge

Robert Connely, senior VP, innovations, Medicity

The healthcare map of the United States is dotted with white spaces – clinically underserved areas characterized by above- average rates of chronic illness and below-average clinical outcomes. The health IT infrastructure in these regions tends to refl ect the economic climate: EHR adoption is low and providers have limited

funds for adoption. The Offi ce of the National Coordinator (ONC) took this and similar scenarios into consideration when defi ning the rules for achieving meaningful use of EHRs. The result is the inclusion of modular approaches in the range

10 April 2011

of technologies that can be certifi ed for meaningful use. The availability of lower-cost, modular technology – combined with the availability of complete, traditional EHRs – provides options that both appeal to and are accessible to all providers. The modular approach enables providers to tackle the meaningful-use challenge one requirement at a time rather than necessitating a large-scale cutover from paper records to a full EHR. Meaningful-use modules represent a sound option for cash-strapped providers – with costs coming in at a fraction of the $44,000 government incentive – and can be quickly implemented in a practice without requiring workfl ow redesign. The modular approach offers unlimited possibilities

for providers to keep tackling reform bit by bit – implementing capabilities as needed to improve workfl ow and increase quality care.


For our April issue, HMT put together a roundup on “Implementing Meaningful Use Objectives,” asking selected industry experts for their input.

Editor’s note: This is part one of a two-part series; part two will appear in HMT’s May issue.

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