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Computerizing Healthcare - The Regulation Push and Meaningful EHRs

Posted Jul 02 2009 6:31pm

While things are still in draft form, we all are following the EHR meaningful use dialogue with great interest. The stimulus bill appropriates $19 billion in Medicare and Medicaid carrots for physicians, hospitals, and others who utilize EHRs in a meaningful way.

Physicians with approved EHRs up and in use before 2012 will be eligible for the maximum Medicare incentive payments. (This is a reward for all those who have invested themselves) Physicians who have not adopted an EHR before 2015, and are not able to obtain a hardship exemption will see a 1% cut to Medicare pay, that reduction will gradually increase up to 3% by 2017.

The first draft by the Health IT Policy Committee is summarized below and note integration and information exchange is a key foundation:

By 2011:


  • Use computerized physician order entry for all order types, including medications.
  • Incorporate laboratory tests into EHRs and share results electronically with public health agencies.
  • Generate lists of patients by specific condition to use for quality improvement.
  • Provide clinical summaries for patients after each encounter.
  • Exchange key clinical information among health professionals (problems, medications, allergies, test results, etc.).

By 2013:

  • Generate and transmit prescriptions electronically.
  • Manage chronic conditions using patient lists and decision support tools.
  • Use bar coding for medication administration.
  • Offer secure patient-physician messaging capability.
  • Record patient preferences in EHR.

By 2015:

  • Achieve minimal levels of performance on quality, safety and efficiency measures.
  • Give patients access to self-management tools.
  • Access comprehensive patient data from all available sources.
  • Conduct automated real-time surveillance on occurrences such as adverse events, disease outbreaks and bioterrorism.
  • Incorporate clinical dashboards into EHR.

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