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HIMSS Defines 'Meaningful Use'

April 28, 2009
by root
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The Chicago-based Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) has published its definitions of ‘meaningful use of certified EHR technologies,’ as outlined in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

Definitions were provided both for both meaningful users of certified EHR technologies, and for meaningful use for hospitals to the National Coordinator of Health IT and the Acting CMS Commissioner, within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Approved by the HIMSS Board of Directors, the definitions resulted from consensus-building effort with input from HIMSS members as well as the public. Recommendations for meaningful use include the following:

· To ensure continuity, recognize CCHIT as the certifying body of EHRs.
· To achieve incremental maturation of “meaningful use,” adopt metrics that can be reasonably captured and reported beginning in FY11/2011, and then made increasingly stringent using intervals of not less than two years. HIMSS’ definitions include specific metrics to enact, in phases, over a multi-year period
· To bridge existing gaps in interoperability of health information, coordinate with HITSP and IHE to create new harmonized standards and implementation guides.
· Reconcile the gap between “certified EHR technologies,” “best of breed,” and “open source” technologies.

ARRA calls for multiple years of Medicare incentive payments to hospitals and physicians who meet the requirements of “meaningful use of certified EHR technology.” To be eligible for incentive payments, hospitals and physicians must use the technology in a meaningful manner, exchange electronic health information to improve the quality of care, and submit clinical quality measures as indicated by the Secretary of HHS. Hospitals and physicians must also meet the definition within a specified time frame, which, as described in ARRA, must be made increasingly stringent over time by the Secretary.

Please visit the HIMSS Web site for more information on the definition for meaningful use of technology in hospitals, the definition for meaningful users of EHR technology, and the HIMSS letter sent to ONC and CMS.

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