Plan ahead

By Gienna Shaw

To prepare for a Meaningful Use audit, ensure logs and system settings can help you produce the data when you need it, especially proof for "yes or no" attestation items, such as medication checking.

"Our vendor software was not able to show exactly when that field in our dictionaries had been flipped on and off. And I suspect that's the case with most software, because that [functionality] was not part of the certification requirement," Pam McNutt (right), senior vice president & CIO at the six-hospital Methodist Health System in North Texas, said.

"We ran reports from our audit logs to show our medication interactions and our formulary was triggering every single day for the time period ... we really couldn't prove it any other way."

To make documentation easier, make sure the vendor's name and the software version are on the header of all Meaningful Use reports, to show they came from a certified system. When that's not available, provide screen shots showing the system name and version number to prove it was from a certified system.

"You're in a better position if you can use your vendor's generated reports," McNutt said.

"We keep all of our information electronically from the very beginning," Elizabeth Johnson (left), vice president of applied clinical Informatics at Tenet Healthcare Corporation, said. Tenet created a software program to store and manage MU data for its 78 hospitals. It allows them to upload and transmit evidence directly from the program to the portal.

Even the most organized organizations will face surprises come audit time, however--as you'll see on the next page of this special report.

Plan ahead