Feds are about to meet to delineate a 'meaningful use' standard for EHRs (electronic health records).
These will be weighty words...upon this definition hinges a company/provider's ability to secure funding (or lack thereof) from the ARRA and HITECH pot of stimulus dollars.
The gospel of 'meaningful use' according to HIMSS includes 4 main provisions:
1. EHR is CCHIT (Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology) certified (oh boy - here we go...we're putting one pseudo-agency in charge of universal certifications?)...
2. "Demonstrate abilities to exchange clinical and administrative patient data." Ok. Sounds good. But where is the patient's ability to modify, contest, or add to administrative data that may be erroneous, such as the upcoding found in @ePatientDave's BIDMC/Google Health PHR transfer?
3. ePrescribing (awesome. No argument here...)
4. "Electronically report quality and safety data." Ok. But what data sets? And to whom? Where is my clinical and administrative data going? To insurers? What if this loophole enables people to deny claims or insurance based on faulty information like upcoding? Oh wait, that's already happening with our current paper-based system. It will be interesting to see how HIMSS believes a change in the transmission method alone can improve quality and safety for each patient.
This bears watching folks. And if you're part of a healthcare reform group (read: ePatients PLEASE jump on this), I'd recommend releasing your own recommended "meaningful use" standard.
Bet you $50 bucks the AMA and potentially the AARP release one in the next 48-72 hours....