HIMSS: Meaningful Use Stage 2 aligns HIEs, public health

The proposed Meaningful Use Stage 2 rules has spurred partnerships between public health agencies and health information exchanges (HIEs), which will act as intermediaries for electronic reporting of public health data, according to Carol Steltenkamp, chief medical information officer at University of Kentucky Healthcare and director of Kentucky's Regional Extension Center.  

Steltenkamp, speaking at a Health Information Management and Systems Society webinar yesterday, noted that the HIE can only transport data, not change its content or message format.

"Health Information exchange infrastructure underpins a scalable, efficient and lower-cost mechanism for thousands of providers to interact with a small number of lower-budget public health entities," she said.

The proposed rule requires providers report certain information, such as immunizations, cancer cases and syndromic surveillance, and is much more stringent than the Stage 1 Meaningful Use requirements of reporting to public health agencies, she notes. For instance, a failed transmission to an agency, acceptable under Stage 1, will not be acceptable under Stage 2.  

Steltenkamp also said Meaningful Use reporting will lead to advances in HIE and provides the foundation for strong national information exchange among providers to improve outcomes and engage patients.

The proposed rule serves to foster interoperability in other ways, as well, such as requirement that providers transfer care summaries to providers using different EHR systems, and for patients to be able to access their records via a portal or other online system.

"It's all about putting the patient in the center," she noted.    

To learn more:
- see the Meaningful Use Stage 2 proposed rule
- check out HIMSS' educational events

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