By Howard Anderson Regulators should focus on improvements in quality, cost and performance when defining what constitutes meaningful use of electronic health records to qualify for federal financial incentives under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, one association argues. In a statement presented at a hearing of the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics, Sandra Fuller, COO of the American Health Information Management Association, Chicago, stressed that Meaningful use should, if feasible, focus on the use of the information, not the technology itself. Echoing recommendations of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, AHIMA backs incremental changes in the definition of meaningful use in the years ahead. Meaningful use should be viewed as a roadmap to be stepped up over the next several years, Fuller said. Initial criteria should be based on what is achievable with current technology. Among AHIMAs other recommendations: Regulators should leverage existing standards when defining meaningful use. Providers cannot be faced with providing and documenting care one way for ARRA incentives and other ways for other industry parties and partners, Fuller said. The way in which meaningful use is measured and reported should minimize manipulation and mitigate the risk of fraudulent reporting. Steps should be taken to educate consumers about the challenge and opportunity of an interconnected health system and the progress that is being made. The full statement is available at ahima.org. This article can also be found at HealthDataManagement.com.
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