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Meaningful Use Roundup: Part 2


It’s like the old joke: “Meaningful use? You can’t get there from here.” MU aims to connect providers, not pharmacists M

John Klimek R.Ph., senior VP, industry information technology, NCPDP (National Council for Prescription Drug Programs)

No matter what your position on meaningful-use requirements – whether you view the fi nal rule as too lenient or too stringent – one thing is undeniable: We have missed the mark in capturing the full opportunity to transform healthcare. While we do believe the requirements of Stage 1 and subsequent stages will improve healthcare, we remain concerned that pharmacists are still relegated to effectively care for the patient on the periphery.

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Pharmacists are an important part of the interdisciplinary team that is critical in the management of a patient’s well- being. They are involved in many aspects of patient care and are uniquely positioned to contribute substantially in all settings and throughout the continuum of care. In fact,

Preserve the patient-record narrative

A crucial element of the meaningful-use objectives is maintaining an active patient problem list, which is often found in the unstructured, narrative portion of the record. To meet the objectives, clinicians must capture clinical information in a structured form. While most electronic medical record systems offer pick-lists for physicians to create and manage patient problems, the process can be highly ineffi cient. The challenge then becomes how clinicians can create a structured record without labor-intensive, manual data-entry tasks. In addition to workfl ow disruption, oftentimes problem lists fail to capture the detailed and expressive descriptions of patients’ unique health stories, which continue to be a major concern. In fact, the majority of clinicians believe

12 May 2011

the narrative must be preserved, as it is the best way to present and share a complete clinical case and its associated diagnostic reasoning.

Implementing meaningful use as part of clinicians’ workflow is complex. Healthcare IT has already become an enabler of meaningful use, and through strategic collaboration between industry HIT leaders the delivery of new innovation will continue. During this transformative time, a focus on improving medical intelligence through innovation is critical.

Nick van Terheyden, Nuance


in the academic medical care setting, pharmacists and physicians do rounds together to optimize medication therapies for patients with the benefi t of having a full view of the patient’s medical situation. And the payoffs from this collaboration are well documented in terms of improved patient outcomes and reduced costs. ePrescribing, a core requirement of MU, establishes a point of real-time communication between physicians and pharmacists that will go a long way toward improving patient safety and reducing costs, medication errors, drug-drug interactions, fraud and more. But ePrescribing should only be the beginning. Although it didn’t take an act of Congress for the pharmacy industry to achieve the high level of automation that is taken for granted today, it may take just that to embed pharmacists into the patient care team to optimize collaboration among all care providers and have the most profound impact on improving health outcomes and reducing healthcare costs.


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

Editor’s note: This is part two of a two-part series; part one appeared in HMT’s April issue.

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