CIOs consider how to define ‘meaningful use’

By Bernie Monegain
02:16 PM

The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, which has a membership of 1,300 CIOs across the country, weighed in last week on its definition of “meaningful use” for healthcare information technology.

CHIME submitted its statement to a hearing of the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics, an advisory body to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Compliance with this definition will determine whether hospitals and group practices qualify for Medicare and Medicaid financial incentives under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

In the absence of a government definition of meaningful use, several IT organizations have stepped up with their own. CHIME is the most recent to do so.

“As the premier professional group for healthcare information executives, CHIME serves as a voice for those who will implement health IT systems to improve patient care,” the CHIME statement said.  CHIME recommends:

  •  the use of quality metrics and outcomes regardless of technology in place;
  •   a phased approach to encourage early adoption without raising the bar too high too early;
  •  exploring alternative means to connectivity in the short term and connection to an HIE over time;
  • and consideration of alternative means to use of CCD for exchange of health data.

“It is critical to realize that meaningful use encompasses three interrelated efforts: technology, although not in a componentized sense, outcomes and clinical evidence-based process improvement,” said CHIME board member Tim Stettheimer, vice president and regional CIO at St. Vincent’s Health System in Birmingham, Ala.