Making meaningful use about more than IT

By Healthcare IT News
02:39 PM

The meaningful use program is a privilege and a journey. 

That’s the contention of Liz O. Johnson, MS, RN-BC. As vice president of applied clinical informatics for Tenet Health Care, Johnson is leading a meaningful use project to enhance clinical capabilities that is currently live at 29 Tenet hospitals and will be at 40 by June.

“The journey is to meaningful care. We focus every day on what we can do with technology and data to support our clinicians in having what they need to make better decisions,” Johnson said, adding that she also works on “how we can take advantage of the national knowledge, evidence-based practices, (and) the learnings of others to ensure that we are pushing that line forward all the time.” 

Johnson will draw on that experience in her session “Meaningful Use Stage 1: From Inception to Attestation,” during the Meaningful Use Symposium on Sunday, March 3.

Tackling Stage 2 in a session titled “Ready or Not Here it Comes,” during the same Symposium, Robin S. Raiford, RN-BC, research director of the IT strategy council at The Advisory Board Company, plans to outline how the changes that take effect in 2014 relate to reporting requirements, as well as offer advice on completing the patient engagement aspects of Stage 2.

“A serious meaningful use of the EHR will need to take place to meet criteria for Stage 2,” Raiford explained. “Clinical Quality measures will have a more robust component, increased data granularity, dynamic data exchange with EHR, and enriched patient engagement.  It is essential to engage the patient in their healthcare planning, or we will just continue with people not partnering with their health and wellness with a provider. Patient engagement starts at the bedside with accountability, listening and communication skills.”

While moving through Stage 1 and heading into Stage 2, providers must also prepare for meaningful use audits – a topic attendees will learn about in at least two of the symposium’s sessions.“We have been audited both on the eligible hospital and eligible provider side,” Tenet’s Johnson said, adding that she’ll discuss what an audit entails. And in the session “Meaningful Use Audits - What Your Provider Organization Needs to Know,” Michael “Mac” McMillan will also talk about what the regulation means, risks and compliance, and how to prepare for an audit.

As witnessed by this year’s OCR audits, many providers and vendors are under-prepared. McMillan, CEO of CynergisTek plans to define the problem, examine third-party risks, and define a process for managing the audit process based on a life-cycle approach, he said.

“OCR expects a process that begins with requirements, is managed through policies and controls, and monitored to successful termination/disposition of data,” McMillan said, adding that he will also touch upon “what to watch out for and what to address in processes.”

The day-long symposium also includes sessions on marrying technology and culture, as well as a closing keynote in which Intermountain Healthcare CIO Marc Probst will discuss updates and insights on meaningful use.

The symposium begins with opening remarks at 9:00 AM, and will continue throughout the day.  All sessions will be held in Room 280 of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.