High EHR Usage: Driven By Need Or Regulations? - InformationWeek
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High EHR Usage: Driven By Need Or Regulations?

When analyzing CMS data showing improvements in healthcare associated with EHR usage, beware "clicks for cash" phenomenon, cautions one analyst.

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released data from the Meaningful Use incentive program that it says proves doctors are using electronic health records (EHRs) to become more efficient and improve healthcare.

According to the news release:

-- More than 190 million electronic prescriptions have been sent by doctors, physician's assistants and other health care providers using EHRs, reducing the chances of medication errors.

-- Healthcare professionals sent 4.6 million patients an electronic copy of their health information from their EHRs.

-- More than 13 million reminders about appointments, required tests or check-ups were sent for patients over 65 or under five.

[ Electronic healthcare records don't solve all of healthcare's money problems. Read Why EHRs Don't Lower Total Healthcare Costs. ]

-- Providers have checked drug and medication interactions to ensure patient safety more than 40 million times through the use of EHRs.

-- Providers shared more than 4.3 million care summaries electronically with other providers when patients moved between care settings, resulting in better outcomes for their patients.

In a related blog post, Rob Tagalicod, director of the CMS' Office of eHealth Standards and Services, added these items to the laundry list:

-- More than 458 million test results were entered into EHRs by 111,954 eligible professionals (EPs).

-- Medication reconciliation was performed on over 40 million patient transitions of care by 83,035 EPs.

-- Almost 70,000 EPs sent at least one test data submission to immunization registries.

-- More than 12,000 EPs sent at least one test data submission to public health agencies.

In the CMS press release, Marilyn Tavenner, the agency's administrator, said, "Electronic health records are transforming relationships between patients and their health care providers. EHRs improve care coordination, reduce duplicative tests and procedures, help patients take more control of their health and result in better overall health outcomes."

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User Rank: Apprentice
8/13/2013 | 2:55:22 AM
re: High EHR Usage: Driven By Need Or Regulations?
I tend to agree with Michelle Holmes on this case. I have seen first-hand how some providers tend to just go through the motions to attest for MU Stage 1 requirements. The example of the patient plans being thrown directly into the garbage and not being given to the patient or not being explained to the patient properly probably happens in a lot of organizations especially when they are first beginning their implementation process. Many of the measures being collected by CMS may be manufactured or may not be an accurate measure of better patient care or of higher efficiency.

Jay Simmons
Information Week Contributor
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