New Meaningful Use Best-Practices Library Helps Hospitals Effectively Implement Electronic Health Records to Improve the H

Key Lessons Learned from Hospitals Participating in Premier Healthcare Alliance HIT Collaborative Featured in April Issue of Health Affairs

CHARLOTTE, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- To help hospitals effectively implement electronic health records (EHR) to improve the health of their communities, experts from leading not-for-profit hospitals have created an electronic health record (EHR) Meaningful Use (MU) Implementation best-practices library.

Featured in the April edition of Health Affairs, the library offers actionable guidance that will help providers meet the MU objectives outlined by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The library was developed as a part of the Premier healthcare alliance Health Information Technology (HIT) Collaborative. More than 160 not-for-profit hospitals nationwide have joined the HIT Collaborative to help them speed EHR implementation and qualify for federal HIT incentive payments as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.

Championed by Bill Spooner, chief information officer at Sharp HealthCare in San Diego, and Craig Richardville, chief information officer for the Carolinas HealthCare System (CHS) in Charlotte, N.C., the library features specific instruction on ways to speed implementation of computerized physician order entry; medication management; clinical documentation; reporting of measures; privacy; information exchange; and management of populations’ health and personal health records. Best practices also include strategies for securing executive leadership, culture change, communication and support for clinicians.

“Backed by literature and the real-world experiences of the collaborative members, the library outlines steps and approaches that must be executed prior to and during EHR implementation,” said CHS’ Richardville. “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.”

According to Sharp’s Spooner, “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.”

Regardless of where an organization is in the EHR implementation process, the library can be used to improve the likelihood that hospitals receive Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) incentive payments in 2011 and 2012.

“The ARRA included an estimated $20 billion in federal funds to incentivize the use of HIT,” said Keith J. Figlioli, senior vice president of Premier Healthcare Informatics. “In order to stay ahead of this important issue and help members of our alliance qualify for these incentives, Premier formed the collaborative to share knowledge and best practices around EHR implementation. Our hope is that through collaborative execution, we can reduce duplicative work, speed implementation and put in place systems that achieve the government’s goal of improved quality, greater efficiency and reduced costs.”

HIT Collaborative members convene regularly to discuss and manage the maze of HIT implementation challenges and common tasks. Members also work with government officials and provide feedback that will help direct the nation’s progress toward an electronically-enabled healthcare system that enhances efficiencies and reduces costs.

Premier worked closely with members of the HIT Collaborative to urge that CMS 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.

Said Figlioli, “We have to start thinking of HIT as a system-wide feedback loop, not just digitized paper records. 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.”

About Premier Inc., 2006 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient

The Premier healthcare alliance is more than 2,300 U.S. hospitals and 66,000 other healthcare sites working together to improve healthcare quality and affordability. Owned by not-for-profit hospitals, Premier maintains the nation's most comprehensive repository of clinical, financial and outcomes information and operates a leading healthcare purchasing network. A world leader in helping deliver measurable improvements in care, Premier works with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the United Kingdom's National Health Service North West to improve hospital performance. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Premier also has offices in San Diego, Philadelphia and Washington. Follow Premier on Twitter.


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