Meaningful Use, the Technology, the User or the Policy?

The gloves are off and many are now shouting their distain for Meaningful Use from rooftops. Like many before it, the policy was bred out of hope for positive change in U.S. healthcare system, but has it done more bad than good?  30 billion dollars devoted to creating healthcare IT standards and computerizing healthcare organizations in an attempt to forge the digital pathway for the American healthcare system and to what avail, many are asking? I think the bigger question is why is it so difficult for this industry to go digital, why is it even a debate, every other industry is digital so why then, is taking our #1 Gross National Product and making it accountable to the digital standards of other industries so difficult?

Many want to go back to the beginning, to review the history of federal IT policy, some want to blame the vendors who create the EHR software and it’s inefficiencies, while others are content to point out that in order to make a technology successful you must first utilize it in the intended way, pointing their set of fingers at healthcare providers who implement technology but do not utilize it meaningfully.

Two recently published articles, “EHRs continue to be a challenge to HHS, published by, Healthcare IT News, and Meaningful use: Born: 2009—died 2014?, published by, Wachter’s World, address the above mentioned issues, however not in their entirety. This is not an easy battle to win but it is a fight worth having, none of these challenges are singularly to blame, but each are responsible in part to hindering the intended goal of transitioning a historically paper world of healthcare to the digital age. The best approach to reaching this common goal is to elicit consultants who have successfully obtained this feat and make it their mission to implement best practices. In the words of Heraclitus, “Big results require big ambitions.”

Contact EHR & Practice Management Consultants, Inc. (www.ehrpmc.com) at 1-800-376-0212 or contact@ehrpmc.com for help in optimizing your EHR system by having our experienced consultants provide best practices on usage for your particular EHR system.

EHR Data Continues To Save Lives

In the midst of all the MU Stage 2 controversy comes evidence that EHRs are still having positive impacts on patient health outcomes. In May of this year Healthcare It News released an article with data provided by the Department of Health and Human Services, reported 15,000 lives and $4B saved so far from HAC reductions.

These reductions in adverse drug events, falls and infections have prevented nearly 15,000 deaths, avoided 560,000 injuries and saved as much as $4 billion in health spending over the same period.

“We applaud the nationwide network of hospital systems and providers that are working together to save lives and reduce costs,” said outgoing HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “We are seeing a simultaneous reduction in hospital readmissions and injuries, giving patients confidence that they are receiving the best possible care and lowering their risk of having to be readmitted to the hospital after they get the care they need.”

A more recent study by researchers in the U.S. and United Kingdom published by CMAJ Open analyzed 11.5 million electronic patient records, identifying a jaw dropping number of undiagnosed cases of diabetes. Using an algorithm that analyzed biomedical data, researchers were able to identify that off the total 1,174,018 patients with diabetes, 63, 620, had undiagnosed diabetes. Diabetes kills one person every six seconds and afflicts 382 million people worldwide, according to the International Diabetes Federation, a staggering number indeed. If the only positive outcome of EHRs were to identify diabetes patients worldwide and in return provide the treatment they require in order to save their life, it would be worthwhile. Suffice being inundated with negative commentary on EHRs and Meaningful use in the last few months, I believe this is enough evidence to at least quiet the cynics and chalk this one in the win category.

If you need assistance with optimizing your EHR or andy other EHR needs please contact EHR & Practice Management Consultants, Inc (www.ehrpmc.com) for additional assistance at 1-800-376-0212 or contact@ehrpmc.com