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10/21/2011
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GE Admits Inaccuracies With EHR Reporting

Centricity customers should hold off on Meaningful Use attestation until problem is fixed, the company says.

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Some customers of GE Healthcare may not be able to attest for Meaningful Use, as the vendor has discovered "inaccuracies" in its electronic medical records (EMR) software reporting functions.

GE Healthcare VP and general manager Michael Friguletto disclosed the problem in a Thursday letter to users of GE's Centricity Practice Solution and Centricity Electronic Medical Record (EMR) products.

According to Friguletto, the unspecified inaccuracies may throw off results from SAP's Crystal Reports or GE's Medical Quality Improvement Consortium (MQIC) reporting tools that many Centricity customers rely on to produce reports necessary to prove Meaningful Use. "The underlying clinical data and logic of the electronic medical record system remain sound," Friguletto wrote.

The Waukesha, Wis.-based division of General Electric promised a corrected version of its software by the end of November.

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"If you have already attested in 2011, we recommend that you run the reports again for your particular attestation period after we provide the updates. If your results are different from those used for attestation, you may need to evaluate if you have still cleared all applicable Meaningful Use thresholds for the original period or would meet the thresholds for all applicable measures (not only those that may have changed in the initial reporting period) for a later reporting period in 2011," according to the letter, a copy of which was obtained by InformationWeek Healthcare.

Friguletto recommended that physicians and other eligible professionals who have not yet attested to Meaningful Use hold off until they have the software update in place. Individual practitioners who achieve Meaningful Use for 90 consecutive days in 2011 have until Feb. 29, 2012, to attest and still be eligible for 2011 Medicare bonus payments.

According to Friguletto, GE is working with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to determine what customers that have already attested will have to do if the updated software produces different data than the current version.

He further stated that GE has "identified a series of immediate steps that you need to take on three specific measures to ensure that your progress towards Meaningful Use can be assessed accurately by our reports." However, the link provided did not work.

A GE Healthcare spokesman could only provide a general statement that said the company was "committed to transparency in this matter," but otherwise reiterated the points of the letter. Other GE Healthcare officials were involved in a Centricity user's group meeting and were not available on Friday.

Both affected Centricity products have been certified for Stage 1 Meaningful Use by the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT). When contacted, CCHIT was unaware of the GE letter and offered no further comment.

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