EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. Feb. 24, 2011 New Jersey meaningful use
"Our weekly working sessions with MedInformatix are enabling our practice to quickly implement all [Stage 1] required database metrics, including such things as patients’ smoking habits, vaccination histories, allergies, truly every bit of information to help make the best health care decisions," Goldszal said.
University Radiology and MedInformatix have installed and enabled 15 of approximately 25 identifying data entries for patients, which everybody at the practice will be automatically prompted for and required to enter to ensure that radiologists have all of the necessary information for proper diagnosis and treatment. The EHR application will guide users toward collecting all patient information, down to the correct spelling of names and addresses.
"If something isn’t entered, or is entered incorrectly, the data entry process cannot move forward," Goldszal said.
Some critical of the ARRA’s meaningful use provision express reservations over what they term the "Big Brother" aspects of Stage 1, which requires the capturing of so highly personal patient data. Goldszal strongly disagrees.
"Meaningful use establishes a process to measure and report key health information. When you think about such things as influenza and the potential for outbreaks of current and future esoteric diseases, the more information that’s available, the better from a national health perspective.
"Some smaller practices also express concern over the capital investments that meaningful use requires," Goldszal continued. "The thing is, the cost savings and benefits of a digital as opposed to an analog records system is sizable with respect to a lessened need for record keeping staff and the time required to search for analog-based records, which translates to more money spent."
In addition to improved treatments and patient outcomes, the sooner that radiologists implement meaningful use technology, the better from a financial incentive perspective. Those that wait until 2013 and 2014 receive lower incentives, while those that fail to comply with the provisions by 2015 face financial penalties of up to 5 percent in the form of CMS reimbursement reductions.
Stages 2 and 3 of meaningful use will address additional information exchange capabilities, including overall quality, safety and efficiency toward an improvement in the U.S. population’s overall health.
"For us, there are only benefits. There are no disadvantages to meaningful use certification," Goldszal said.