EHR Vendors, How to Compete in the HITECH Age (Take a Page from AthenaHealth's Playbook)

February 17, 2009...a day that will live in infamy...

From "What you need to know about the HITECH Act of 2009 : athenahealth"

Full read here: http://www.athenahealth.com/campaign/hitech/index.php

Last month President Obama signed the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act into law.

The bill is part of the Stimulus package known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Athena is proactively keeping up with potential requirements for reimbursable systems and provides some nuggets of wisdom here - also worth noting they believe their EHR, athenaClinicals, is ready and set to go when Uncle Sam starts writing those checks.

What you should take away from Athena's update if you're an EHR/EMR vendor (or about to become one by virtue of chasing the Great Stimulus Bill Carrot):

1. Get certified - the "smart" $ is on CCHIT certification...."there is general consensus that the certifying organization will be the independent Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT)."

2. IF you haven't yet started CCHIT's process, get rockin.' Be sure your platform has:

* patient demographic data
* clinical health information, plus;
* the capacity to provide clinical decision and physician order entry

Bivalve model anyone?

Oh yeah. And also toss in some e-prescribing capabilities.

3. Use your crystal ball, or some lobbyists and Clinovations-types to discern what HHS *might* be getting at when they say docs must demonstrate "meaningful use" of an EHR. Percentage of patients enrolled? Etc? Naw, don't worry, this isn't outcomes based - YET. The definition parameters for meaningful use at this point are capabilities-oriented and include:

* that pesky e-prescribing
* the ability to interchange data electronically (a la the interwebs people)
* the ability to submit clinical quality measures

Re: What constitutes 'clinical quality measures,' good guesses may include IHIs mandates, perhaps some JCAHO info, and payor oriented measures like PQRI, which, by the way, athenaClinicals has already integrated).

More on athenaClinicals here:

And CCHIT certification here:

Athena sums it up best here:

"The HITECH Act is clearly an ideal opportunity for physicians who use EHRs effectively to be rewarded and to stimulate adoption for those who aren’t currently using EHRs."

All aboard folks, or get left behind when defense contractors turn hungry eyes towards healthcare. Oh wait....

Posted via web from Jen's posterous

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