Although LTC and post-acute care providers have been excluded from Meaningful Use, they still play a key role in continuity of care, says federal health IT official.
8 Health Information Exchanges Lead The Way
(click image for larger for slideshow)
Non-physician providers of long-term and post-acute care may not qualify for the Meaningful Use electronic health records (EHRs) incentive program, but they likely will need to exchange EHR data electronically and report on clinical measures in order to participate in pay-for-performance and other quality-centric models in the future, according to a top federal health IT official.
"Interoperability and health information exchange are major priorities for ONC moving forward," Murphy, a registered nurse, added. "The goal is to assure that information follows patients whenever and wherever they seek care. It is essential for [long-term and post-acute care] providers to invest in technology to support these goals."
Murphy noted that the proposed rules for Stage 2 of Meaningful Use, set to take effect in 2014, contain several provisions relevant to these areas of care. The proposal calls for hospitals and "eligible professionals"--including physicians, dentists, podiatrists, optometrists, and chiropractors--to be able to generate longitudinal care plans, documents for transition of care, and care patient assessment summaries.
Murphy also said that ONC is engaging long-term and post-acute care providers through the Standards and Interoperability (S&I) Framework and via federal grants given to state HIE programs in Massachusetts, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Colorado to promote interoperability in these care domains.
While it would take an act of Congress to expand Meaningful Use to long-term and post-acute care providers--the original scope is codified in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act--such providers are finding issues with health IT, as are hospitals and physician practices, according to Deborah Green, VP of health information management solutions at the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). AHIMA is one of the eight industry organizations that make up the LTPAC Health Information Technology Collaborative, which convened last week's summit.
"A lot of providers across the continuum of care do have challenges in funding of electronic health records," Green told InformationWeek Healthcare. They may not have access to the estimated $27 billion in Meaningful Use incentive money, but they can demand interoperability features from EHR vendors to make the investment more worthwhile, Green said.
Get the new, all-digital Healthcare CIO 25 issue of InformationWeek Healthcare. It's our second annual honor roll of the health IT leaders driving healthcare's transformation. (Free registration required.)
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security EnterpriseTo learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
2017 State of IT ReportIn today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.