Meaningful Use - The first step towards healthcare provider digitization

In the 19th century, the stethoscope was considered to be the most advanced tool that a doctor used to carry. Medicine has come a long way and in this century when the world is heading towards digitization, healthcare is on the front foot. Digitization in healthcare has made surgeries, once thought impossible, possible - enhancing and transforming care delivery.

Reducing paperwork is essential for providers. Thanks to American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and meaningful use, paper records are phasing out. It has now become mandatory for providers to implement certified electronic medical records (EMR)/electronic health records (EHR) and use them effectively. These processes make meaningful use thefirst step towards digitization of provider systems.

To understand this concept better, let us look at the three stages of meaningful use and understand its meaning from a digitization perspective.

Stage 1 - Capture and share data: At this stage, providers capture basic patient information such as:

  • Capturing vitals
  • Entering lab results in EHR
  • Send clinical summary to patients
  • Public health and quality reporting

This digitally saved information can be helpful in:

  • Regularly tracking and monitoring patient health in a seamless manner
  • Easily  sending data to public health agencies for tedious and time consuming calculations

Stage 2 - Advanced clinical processes: At this stage, providers need to focus on sharing captured information in the EMR for:

  • Patient (personal health record) PHR access
  • E-prescriptions for refills
  • Health alerts
  • Immunization information

This enables:

  • Quick refills of medicines
  • Improved quality of health
  • Timely immunization and consolidated records
  • Efficient service by providers

Stage 3 - Improved outcomes: This final stage is more focused on being proactive, as providers have access to comprehensive patient data. Using data captured during stage 1 and 2, providers can easily identify high-risk patients and automate real-time surveillance.

With more providers participating in the EHR incentive programs, patients will reap the benefits of improved outcomes.

Impact of digitization due to meaningful use:

Impact of meaningful use   on patients

Impact of meaningful use on providers

Impact of meaningful use   on public health

Electronic prescriptions– More   than 190 million electronic prescriptions have been sent by EPs for their   patients. Clinical   labs results –More than 458 million test results were entered into   the EHR by 111,954 EPs. Immunization   registries data submission – Immunization registries received at least one   test data submission from 69,474 Eps.
Patient   reminders – More than 13 million patient reminders were sent for   patients aged 65+ and less than five about preventive/follow-up care. Medication   reconciliation –Medication reconciliation was performed for over 40   million patient care transitions by 83,035 EPs. Syndromic   surveillance data submission – Public health agencies received at least one test   data submission from 12,298 Eps.
Patient   electronic access –More than 33 million patients received electronic   access to their health information. Transition   of care summary – Over 4.3 million patient care transition summaries   were generated by 24,827 EPs.