Meaningful Use and the Ehr Essay

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Natalie Sperling Professor Marshall Kaplan University October 25, 2011 It has only been within the last five years that health information management (HIM) has experienced exponential changes, due to the healthcare reform. The electronic health record (EHR) is connected to health information exchanges and other systems of interoperability. The timely completion of charts, coding and release of information (ROI) has become much more efficient with the electronic record. Traditional HIM functions will just be transformed and will always be an integral part of successful patient care.

Professionals must be flexible and willing to adapt and even generate change. As Health Information Technology continues to evolve, so will the roles of HIM personnel (Dennard, 2010). One way the EHR will affect the health care offices, is that there will be the need for a lot less office space. There will not need to be a place to store physical charts. More transcription and coding services are being outsourced and done at home. While the HIM department and its functions will change, the maintenance of the EHR and its byproducts will always require the expertise of HIM professionals (Teen, 2005).

The professionals will still need to pay attention to detail, project management, problem solving, data reporting and much more. Congress and the Obama administration have provided an opportunity for caregivers to break through the barriers of progress with the transformation to the electronic record. Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) has authorized incentive payments through Medicare and Medicaid for clinicians and hospitals that have switched to the use of the EHR (Blumenthal, 2010). The goal of HITECH is not only for them to adopt the EHR, but also create “meaningful use”.

The secretary of health and human services develops specific “meaningful use” objectives. The core objectives are basic functions that allow the EHR to promote improved healthcare, such as basic data entry (vital signs, demographics, allergies). To qualify for the incentive payments, clinicians will have to start using clinical decision support tools, such as E-prescribing. The software programs would be able to improve the safety, quality and efficiency of care by applying clinical logic. In addition to the core elements, providers will have to choose any five of the ten additional tasks to implement in 2011-2012.

Some examples of these might be clinical lab results, patient appointment reminders and drug-formulary checks. This gives the providers a chance to choose their own path toward full EHR implementation and meaningful use. Legislation ties payments to the achievement of advances in health care processes and outcomes. The regulations are specific as to when providers will have to use particular functions in order to be considered meaningful users. The meaningful use rule acknowledges the urgency of adopting the electronic health record and recognizes the challenges it will pose on all providers.

The initial investment of adopting the EHR is both costly and time-consuming, but most experts predict that the pros will outweigh the cons in the end. Meaningful use is beneficial because the providers are making better informed decisions about their patients due to the clinical guidelines and information that they are provided. Health information professionals will always be needed, just in a different capacity. References: Blumenthal, D. (2010, August 8). Meaningful Use . New England Journal of Medicine. Retrieved October 24, 2011, from http://www. nejm. rg Refere Dennard, J. (n. d. ). Hospitals – Hospital Search, Compare, Locator a?? Long Term Care Facilities | Billiana?? s HealthData | Billian’s HealthData. Hospitals – Hospital Search, Compare, Locator a?? Long Term Care Facilities | Billiana?? s HealthData | Billian’s HealthData. Retrieved October 24, 2011, from http://www. billianshealthdata. com Tegen, A. (n. d. ). AHIMA Home – American Health Information Management Association. AHIMA Home – American Health Information Management Association. Retrieved October 24, 2011, from http://www. ahima. org

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