Providers who wish to receive incentive payments under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), and more specifically, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 (HITECH Act), for the adoption and implementation of an electronic health record (EHR) must meet specific requirements, one of which is to demonstrate that the provider is making a “meaningful use” of the EHR. The HITECH Act vests authority in the Secretary for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) to further define “meaningful use.” HHS does not intend to come up with this definition in a vacuum and has solicited input. Such input poured in on April 28 & 29, 2009, when the HHS National Commmitee on Vital and Health Statistics held public hearings to discuss “meaningful use.”
In a HealthLeaders Media article on May 5, 2009, the author, Carrie Vaughn, prepared a summary and provided links to the several associations and industry groups who weighed in on the definition of “meaningful use.” Among the organizations who submitted proposals were CHIME, AHIMA, AMIA, ANI, HIMSS, and The Markle Foundation. Vaughn observed that the proposals seemed to agree that “meaningful use” should focus on “desired outcome, which is improving quality of care, reducing costs, and making care delivery more efficient, not the technology itself.” Another common thread among the proposals was to implement the standards using an “incremental approach” that can become more stringent with time. To read the article, click here.