Will EHR Incentives Help Spread Health Information Exchange? | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

The EHR Incentive Programs do not incentives long-term post-acute facilities, but they do incentivize eligible professionals and hospitals to meet health information exchange meaningful use requirement which could serve as a means of connecting these non-eligible facilities to other parts of the care continuum.

That is one takeaway from an interview with the co-principal investigator of a University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing research into HIE readiness among 16 nursing homes in the state.

"Many hospitals wanted to get involved with our long-term care organizations because they were under pressure for meaningful use requirements to exchange data. Many of them heard about our project and contacted me. I told them what we were doing and they asked how they could help," Greg Alexander recently told HealthITInteroperability.com.

The problem with that strategy hinges on the duration of those incentives, which are set to end for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program in a few years. That reality has Alexander considering an important question.

"Is there a model that we could develop where the acute care and physician practices, which are being incentivized to adopt these systems, could reach out to long-term care organizations to extend those incentives beyond their internal walls?" he asked.

As the research of Alexander et al. has so far proven, the acute and ambulatory sides of the care continuum have an interest in exchanging health information with post-acute organizations such as nursing homes, once the necessary HIE infrastructure is in place.

"We had a stakeholder group and hospitals were on our panel. In the first year, they weren't sure how to be engaged," Alexander explained. "It wasn't until after we got the nursing homes to a certain point, ready technically and the infrastructure right, that things took off."