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Comment now on the meaning of ‘meaningful use’ of EHRs
Jan. 20, 2010 e-Reports
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If you’re waiting to purchase an electronic health record (EHR) until federal incentives help you pay for it, you’ll want to pay attention to proposed rules issued earlier this month by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator Health Information Technology (ONC).

The two entities were tasked to define “meaningful use” as required by the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (to learn more about ARRA, go here.)

Physicians seeking incentive payments for EHRs will need to purchase “certified” products and prove they are using those products in a meaningful way to qualify for incentives. Right now, the proposed definition about what is meaningful is open to comment – until March 15.

EHR tabletCMS has indicated it wants EHR technology used “in a manner that improves quality, safety and efficiency of health care delivery, reduces health care disparities, engages patients and families, improves care coordination, improves population and public health, and ensures adequate privacy and security protections for personal health information.”

Limited reaction to date
The Medical Group Management Association on its Web site expressed “serious concerns” over the proposed meaningful use definition. Worries of health care organizations already commenting openly have centered on the timeline and complexity of regulations.

A one-page document here asks for your five greatest concerns with the proposed regulations. Complete the form and fax it to the ISMA’s Adele Lash at (217) 261-2076 by Feb. 2. The ISMA will coordinate feedback to the AMA.

The AMA provided input on standards for EHRs and is currently reviewing the proposed rules. “We want physicians in all practice sizes and specialties to be able to take advantage of the stimulus incentives and adopt new technologies that can improve patient care and physician workflow,” said Steven J. Stack, M.D., AMA board member.

ISMA Reports will give details on the AMA’s review when available. In the meantime, the AMA is seeking feedback and providing information. Visit here to find a short AMA document describing highlights of the meaningful use regulation here.

Help shape this policy, which may impact your ability to earn federal dollars for an EHR in the coming months. View the CMS proposed rule here.

Read ONC’s interim final rule here.

Find additional information on meaningful use, ARRA and more here.

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