Meaningful use spec sheets help to sum up standards

Sliding under the radar during the media frenzy over the EHR meaningful use corrections last week comes a series of 24 specification "tip" sheets to help users understand meaningful use standards.

The one- to two-page guidance documents are summaries of each meaningful use measure, and how the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services expects it to be defined and understood. For example, the certified physician order entry measure specification sheet explains how to calculate ED admissions, and clarifies when a pharmacist or other provider's order, once entered into the system, would count. 

A few other highlights: 

Provide patients with clinical summaries for each office visit: The guide spells out the information that must be included in this summary (updated vitals and medications, reason(s) for visit, procedures completed, etc.) and defines an "office visit." Tip: You can deliver this info to patients via an online patient portal, secure email, a USB thumb drive, or even (gah!) on paper.

Exchange key clinical information: Sharing information within an existing health system, or among affiliated hospitals, isn't going to cut it, according to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT. Different facilities that operate from the same EMR don't qualify as "exchanging" information under the rule. Facilities have to share information with separate EMR systems. Tip: Simulations don't count.

Protect electronic health information: The specs are slim when it comes to security. CMS says only that facilities need to analyze their security risks, and implement updates for any areas that are found deficient. Tip: You must conduct or review a security risk analysis at least once before the EHR reporting period ends. Testing can take place before the first EHR reporting period begins, but a new review would have to take place for each subsequent reporting period. 

If you haven't downloaded these guides, experts say you should do so today, and distribute them to every meaningful-use stakeholder at your facility.

For more information:
- check out the specifications