What is Certified EHR and Why is it Important? | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

The advent of electronic health records (EHR) systems was built on a foundation of improving patient care. Establishing infrastructures that support highly accurate patient data, closing gaps in communication between healthcare providers, and securely storing records are all among the goals of a certified EHR system. To standardize this, certified EHR systems were conceived and built.

Why is Certified EHR Technology Necessary?

Certified EHR technology is simply a method of taking the ideas of improving patient outcomes through technology forward in a standardized, regulated fashion.

But what does this mean for providers?

Not only does adopting a certified EHR system ensure that your records adhere to requirements for HIPAA and Meaningful Use through CMS and the ONC, but they also can qualify medical practices for federal incentive programs, which can greatly reduce the cost of EHR implementation.

Who Certifies EHR Technology?

The requirements for certified EHR technology are generated and regulated by the federal government. Both the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) as well as the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) determine the regulatory requirements for certified EHR systems.

Overview of Requirements

In order to adhere to Medicare and Medicaid requirements (and to qualify for incentive programs), an EHR system must meet a set of requirements, and then further, a medical practice or organization must put those features appropriately to use. Meaningful Use was broken down into three stages, and while details on all the requirements for the three stages can be found here, below is a brief overview of requirements to demonstrate Meaningful Use.

• Data capture and sharing

Stage 1 of Meaningful Use focuses on essentially capturing and tracking KPIs (key performance indicators) within a clinical setting. Coordinating care with this new information includes both in-office communication, and communication with patients and their families.

• Advance clinical processes

Stage 2, advance clinical processes, focuses on honing electronic processes such as e-prescriptions, online laboratory reports, electronic delivery of patient care summaries such as after visit reports, and a new focus on Health Information Exchange (HIE).

• Improved outcomes

Finally, Stage 3 focuses on demonstrating improved health outcomes, decision making on high-priority conditions, and patient portal access and utility, including access to laboratory results, provider communication, and more.