Premier opens new meaningful use best practices library

Keith J. Figlioli, senior vice president of Premier Healthcare Informatics

Premier healthcare alliance has launched a new meaningful use best-practices library to help hospitals effectively implement electronic health records and earn Medicare and Medicaid bonuses.

The library is based on key lessons learned from hospitals participating in Premier's healthcare alliance HIT Collaborative and is featured in the April issue of Health Affairs.

More than 160 not-for-profit hospitals nationwide have joined the HIT Collaborative to help them speed EHR implementation and qualify for federal  incentive payments as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, a Premier officials said in a statement.

According to Premier, the library shows how hospitals can speed implementation of computerized physician order entry; medication management; clinical documentation; reporting of measures; privacy; information exchange; and management of population health and personal health records. It also offers best practices for securing executive leadership, culture change, communication and support for clinicians.

"Taken together, these prioritized resources can be used to help focus implementation efforts around specific tasks required to achieve MU while leveraging the experience of others to achieve smoother, faster adoption of EHR functions," said Craig Richardville, CIO  for the Carolinas HealthCare System (CHS) and champion of the project.

William Spooner, CIO of Sharp HealthCare in San Diego teamed up with Richardville to help launch the project.

As Spooner sees it, a successful EHR implementation should result from the balance between common approaches based on learned best practices and appropriate individualized approaches based on the needs of each organization.

"The key to success will be careful coordination, open communication and collaboration to avoid mistakes and ensure a system that works for all," Spooner said.

Keith J. Figlioli, senior vice president of Premier Healthcare Informatics said Premier worked closely with CMS to modify the proposed rule on meaningful use to ensure that hospitals and other healthcare providers can reasonably achieve the requirements and qualify for incentives. In comments, Premier recommended CMS move more gradually and phase in criteria to achieve meaningful use over a longer timetable.

"We have to start thinking of HIT as a system-wide feedback loop, not just digitized paper records," Figlioli said. "It needs to span across all parties, be on-demand, actionable and multifaceted. Premier's HIT Collaborative takes just such an approach to facilitate implementation efforts that can have the most positive impact."