I was on the phone with one of our valued customers this morning discussing Phase I Meaningful Use and the details on the “how” related to Meaningful Use. The overall goal of Health and Human Services is that providers utilize a certified E.H.R. in a meaningful way. A group of individuals invested months of discussions and feedback to obtain a list of parameters. One challenge for the group is to provide a universal list that applies across all fields of medicine. Some of the parameters in Pediatrics only apply to a certain segment of the population. For example, smoking status is for patients greater than 13 years of age. There are core measures that each provider needs to meet the benchmark for all these measures during the 90 day period being measured as well as selecting a list of 5 of the 10 menu measures.
A good E.H.R. system should provide a simple manner for a physician and/or Practice Administrator to evaluate performance of each of these benchmarks as well as very easily ‘drill down’ to identify how to correct/update patient data associated with the measure. How to use a meaningful use dashboard should take minimal training and review. The E.H.R. vendor should be able to guide an individual in the practice on the process via a web meeting or teleconference. So if you selected the ‘right’ E.H.R. system for Pediatrics, using the software and monitoring meaningful use should be straight forward.
The ‘tough’ part of Meaningful use: Changes to how the practice operates. For example, most practices did not record language, race and ethnicity as part of their intake/demographics. This needs to be captured for over 50% of patients seen during the 90 day measurement period for Phase I. If your E.H.R. system is well design, the practice should be able to click on a link and show the patients that do not have this information during the 90 day period. The most efficient way to enter this information is to capture the data when the patient visits the office. The “ah-ha” moment for many individuals is when they first run a meaningful use report, then they make the changes to their office flow and intake forms as needed.
Some questions to ask related to Meaningful use and your Pediatric Practice: Are we entering all medications in the system and sending medications via electronic prescriptions? Do we list the problems for each visit and maintain the patient problem list? Are we maintaining our Medication list and Allergy List? Does our standard protocol for demographics include recording smoking status of patients >13 years of age? Do we record vitals on each visit? Can we connect to the immunization registry? Are we connected to the lab companies that we send the majority of our labs?
This is not meant to be an a complete list of questions but a list to stimulate thinking around meaningful use. There are many resources, websites and references to obtain detailed information. Good luck on meeting Phase I Meaningful Use!