Timed with the release of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ final rule on meaningful use, Falls Church, Va.-based CSC just launched a new online meaningful use community to continue the discussion. HCI Associate Editor Jennifer Prestigiacomo spoke with CSC’s Community Manager Tim Raimey about the goals for the site and what the community should expect.
Healthcare Informatics: What was the impetus to set up this meaningful use site? How long have you been developing it?
Raimey: We have been planning this since early February. We saw a great need for people all over the U.S. in the healthcare profession to come to one area where they can actually get the most updated [information] and be what we believe to be the most trusted site for [information on] meaningful use of electronic health records. Our firm has been involved with helping companies, organizations, individual provider offices for a long time, and we saw through our clients, as well as our work, that there really wasn’t one place that people could discuss, share information, and simply not be sold to about meaningful use. So we brought this together and not only provide subject matter experts to help people out with their questions, but also allow healthcare professionals to come in and share experiences.
A select group of clients started last week in what we called a soft launch. We invited about seven hospital organizations that we have a relationship with to preview our site. They allow members of their hospital staff to come on, register, put in information about themselves, and get the look and feel of the site.
HCI: Did you learn any interesting things from the soft launch?
Raimey: These folks cannot wait for other people to join so they can share their information. Many of the people who have joined are in the middle of implementing an electronic health record or they’re well along their way. Some of these folks actually represent experts within the community, so they cannot wait to share their experiences with other folks as they join.
HCI: Who do you think will get the most out of this site?
Raimey: It will be a combination of people. For example the CIO will get a lot out of it because they are the ones in the planning process trying to help their organizations implement a meaningful, useful electronic health record. But you also have clinical staff, physicians, nurses, who are very concerned and interested to find out how to implement an electronic health record or convince someone on the business side to go ahead and make the purchase for an electronic health record. So, it’s an equal mix of administrators and clinicians.
HCI: Will all the blogging be in-house or are you having industry folks blog as well?
Raimey: We’re going to do both. We have an established panel of about 35 to 40 of what we call our ‘subject matter experts,’ and I put quotes around that because our subject matter experts range from a variety of people. We have physicians, nurses, administrators that will come in and blog about different elements of the electronic health record, from understanding what quality means and how to implement it to blogging about how the health information exchange works to several things such as what are some good strategies on how to do clinical documentation from a nursing standpoint. We’ll also invite outside people. For example when people log on and register, they will have an opportunity to pose discussions here on where they are along the route. So we anticipate that many of our outside folks who have joined will get in here and talk about their successes and also ask questions about where they could get more help.
HCI: What are some of the coolest features of this site?
Raimey: There are a couple of things that stand out. For one, across the banner across the top you see ‘About the Community.’ If you click on that it actually gives you a self-guided tour, so that if no one was available, you could go in, take the tour, and get started uploading a profile. Another very cool thing is we have a panel of experts, that space that says, ‘Meet the Experts’ is a space where you can see photos and a brief biography of the expert who are real live people that are employed with us who have many years of experience in different aspects of healthcare. So it won’t be folks hiding behind the scenes.
The other area that I want to point out is the ‘Spotlight’ on the left hand side. We’ll change that every few days to bring you some news or an area that we want to highlight, so that will be updated. We encourage people to come back every couple of days to check out what’s new on the site.
HCI: There are so many social networks out there. How are you going to support this community and nurture its dialogue?
Raimey: We want to get the word out through traditional healthcare journals and associations. We’ll also get the word out through our clients that we talk to on a day-to-day basis. And then we’re going to encourage our clients to reach out to other members of the healthcare community and talk about what they experience is on our site. And then as people come and they join, we’ll see discussions, and we’ll ask who else they know might benefit from learning about meaningful use. I think this will stem a lot of discussion, and people will have good experiences and reach out to their peers, as well as other organizations that could benefit from this site.
HCI: Are you reaching out to sister organizations for partnerships?
Raimey: We have something in the works with one organization that has a social media site. I don’t want to mention it yet because we haven’t ironed out the plans yet. There are some talks about a partnership, and were in discussions with them as we speak.
HCI: What are your thoughts on the final rule and the flexibility that was added in?
Raimey: Our country has been waiting so long from a healthcare standpoint to have electronic health records. This encourages not only the adoption because it’s expensive; it also gives people the opportunity to go out seek implementation of electronic health record because there are incentives involved.
Part of the flexibility gives providers a little bit of breathing room to meet meaningful use, and therefore, it’s more realistic to incentivize in getting all aspects of the electronic health record installed when it comes down to physician documentation to CPOE to having a health information exchange, as well as report quality measures that are so needed because reporting quality measures goes back to improving quality within the organization. I wasn’t surprised by the ruling.
HCI: What are your goals for the members of the healthcare community who use this site?
Raimey: I would tell them three things. The first and the most important is that this community is truly for the community. By that I mean that we encourage people to come, join, and put information about themselves. We encourage them to share information about their experiences with electronic health records, whether they are just beginning down the road, or they’re somewhat there, or they’ve implemented it and want to share some best practices.
The second thing we want to say is this community is something we want people to continue to come back to. They’ll find that more people will be joining; they’ll have fresher ideas, and this will be a trusted site where they’ll get real information without having someone sell them a service.
For more information on CSC's analysis of the Meaningful Use final rule, click here.