How to Develop a Successful Strategy for Achieving Meaningful Use

Date Added: May 23, 2011

Author: Michael.Young

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In February 2009, the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) provided a comprehensive plan to stimulate the economy, which included over $20 billion in grants, loans and incentives for the development of a strong IT infrastructure in America’s heath care system. To receive these incentives, hospitals and clinics must demonstrate “meaningful use,” which ARRA has defined through three stages that clinicians must achieve when implementing Electronic Health Records (EHR).

It is definitely a challenge to achieve ARRA-defined meaningful use, but the benefits are immeasurable for patients, hospitals and clinicians. Using ARRA’s three stages as a guideline, your planning team can effectively develop a strategy and timeline for successfully achieving meaningful use.

Developing a Meaningful Use Strategy

The most important step in strategically planning for meaningful use is to assess your EHR system and ensure that it is ARRA-certified. Whether upgrading your current system or integrating a new one, a certified EHR system plays a pivotal role in laying a foundation for meeting each criteria in the three stages of meaningful use. It is crucial to get both clinical and technical staff involved as soon as possible, since the changes ahead will directly affect their workflow in both the short- and long-term.

This can be accomplished in phases, which will help you understand what needs to happen first. Stages Two and Three build incrementally on the work you do in Stage One, so the better prepared you are, the smoother the next stage will be.

Concurrent with determining an EHR solution, devise a strategy for training, implementation and assessment. Explain the three stages, the goals of each, and the benefits to all involved. Then work with your team to develop and maintain a firm timeline for meeting each of the criteria.

Creating a Meaningful Use Timeline

Hospitals and health care professionals who are unable to demonstrate meaningful use by October 2014 (fiscal year 2015 for hospitals) or January 2015 (calendar year 2015 for eligible professionals) will not only forego the meaningful use incentive payments but will also receive a reduced annual payment rate from Medicare and Medicare Advantage for every year they have not achieved meaningful use.

Because of these deadlines, it is vital to establish a firm timeline that details a specific date by which each team member must accomplish set goals. Establishing deadlines will ensure that you are efficiently meeting the requirements of each phase. Throughout the process, it is important to help team members recognize the long-term, significant impact of their efforts.

Implementing Meaningful Use

If you need more information about the implementation of meaningful use and how it improves efficiency for medical professionals, contact e-MDs, a leader in electronic medical record software provision. e-MDs will help you understand how to use your new EHR system or assess and upgrade your current system in a way that achieves ARRA-defined meaningful use.

e-MDs offers a host of affordable, certified EHR solutions for physicians and facilities looking to modernize or enhance their services with the latest electronic health records technology. e-MDs is committed to providing affordable and integrated EHR and Practice Management Software solutions, including clinical, financial and document management modules designed to automate medical practice processes and chart management – delivering the clinical tools needed to succeed in today’s health care environment.

You can find additional detailed information about all the different services and benefits an EHR system has to offer your practice by contacting a representative right now at 1.888.344.9836 or sales@e-mds.com, or visiting them online at www.e-mds.com.

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Heather Preston Meaningful use EHR – e-MDs meaningful use EHR helps manage your electronic health records.

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