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Meaningful Use in Healthcare IT

Advancements in technology and data collection are changing the healthcare field. Technology in healthcare leads to improved patient care, efficiency and engaged patients and family members. Electronic health records (EHR) allow physicians, nurses, pharmacists, therapists and other healthcare providers to easily access a patient's medical records.

Healthcare record keeping is behind the times

Technology in healthcare has lacked with many patients still carrying their medical records from one doctor to the next. This results in disorganization, delays in care and disparities in information. The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, part of the Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, has a provision that requires healthcare professionals to make use of electronic health records if they want to receive maximum reimbursement from Medicare or Medicaid.

Medicaid and Medicare require meaningful use

Hospitals and eligible professionals must show that they are "meaningfully using" certified technology for patient's records in order to qualify for Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement. This includes using EHRs to improve the coordination, quality and safety of patient care, maintain the privacy of patient health information and engage patients and their families. EHR meaningful use technology reduces disparities in information while maintaining the privacy and security of patient records.

Meaningful use is implemented in stages

Establishing EHR meaningful use is done in three stages. Specific objectives are required for each stage. It is important that any hospital or eligible professional attest that they are meeting the requirements of EHR meaningful use on a yearly basis so their Medicaid or Medicare payment is not adjusted.

Meaningful use affects millions of patients

More than 31 million children in the United States are on Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program. In 2013, an estimated 52.3 million adults over the age of 65 were receiving Medicare. It is important that as medical care providers and facilities implement new software they are following the EHR meaningful use guidelines so they can continue to treat Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.

Learn more about the University of South Carolina’s online MHIT program.


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