And We’re Off! Meaningful Use Notes from the CMS & ONC Press Briefing July 13, 2010

I was fortunate enough to be listening by phone to the historic (yes, historic) announcement of the final meaningful use rules by Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary HHS; Don Berwick, MD, new CMS Administrator; David Blumenthal, MD, national coordinator for health information technology at HHS; Regina Benjamin, MD, Surgeon General and a surprise speaker, Regina Holliday, artist and activist for patient rights.

Kathleen Sebelius

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The memorable quotes I wrote down were:

Kathleen Sebelius: “When electronic health records are well-designed and implemented correctly, they can be a powerful force for reducing errors, lowering costs, raising quality of care, and increasing doctor and patient satisfaction.” That is the best one-sentence description of “Why EHR?” I’ve ever heard.

Don Berwick: “If it’s (EHR) so good, why doesn’t everyone use it? Because it’s HARD.” There is a little slice of honesty that you won’t get from most EHR vendors.

David Blumenthal: “We are only as good in treating patients as the information we have.” Wow, an admission that could rock the medical world if we stopped and thought about it.

Regina Holliday: “I will not stop until we all have the right see our own information.” Regina’s Medical Advocacy Blog is here. Her lauded mural “73 Cents” refers to how much per page she was told by the hospital medical records department she would have to pay to get a copy of her husband’s records while he was still in that hospital.

The Meat: Specifics of Stage 1 Meaningful Use (2011 and 2012)

Meaningful use includes both a core set and a menu set of objectives that are specific for eligible professionals and hospitals.

For Eligible Professionals (definition here), there are a total of 25 available meaningful use objectives. 20 of the objectives must be completed to qualify for an incentive payment. 15 are core objectives that are required, and the remaining 5 objectives may be chosen from the list of 10 menu set objectives.

For Hospitals, there are a total of 24 available meaningful use objectives. 14 are core objectives that are required, and the remaining 5 objectives may be chosen from the list of 10 menu set objectives.

Stage 1 (2011 – 2012) sets the baseline for electronic data capture and information sharing.

Stage 2 (est. 2013) and Stage 3 (est. 2015) will continue to expand on this baseline and be developed through future rule making.

Summary Overview Of Meaningful Use Objectives

(full article from New England Journal of Medicine here)

As I am sure you expect, there will be much more information to come.

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