Blogger Attempts to Demystify EHR “Meaningful Use”

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), or stimulus bill, provision that promotes health information technology (HIT) among providers created many unanswered questions. OK, so the bill provides $19 billion in incentives to “eligible professionals” who adopt a “certified” electronic health record (EHR) system in a “meaningful” way before 2015. But who are these eligible professionals? What exactly quantifies a certified EHR system? And what, pray tell, is meaningful use?

Since the bill’s passage, many have tried to answer these questions.

On Dec. 30, 2009, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule that more clearly defines the first stage of meaningful EHR use. Following suit, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) issued an interim final rule with comment period that specifies an initial set of standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria for EHRs. You may have read about these rules in the AAPC News article “Proposed ‘Meaningful Use’ Criteria Released 12/30.”

Still not sure what all this means and how it pertains to your practice?

Healthcare IT News blogger Chris Thorman attempts to further clear up this confounded provision with his Feb. 4 post.

In his blog, “Updates on Meaningful Use, Certified EHR Technology, and the Stimulus Bill,” Thorman includes a table, which outlines what Stage 1 objectives define meaningful use, what software features are necessary to accomplish those objectives, and what criteria the government will use to measure meaningful use. Check it out!


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