Exchange of Clinical Information

Jim Tate, Meaningful Use Expert

 Understanding Core Measure for Exchange of Clinical Information

Attesting to Stage 1 Meaningful Use for both EPs and EHs can be testy when there is confusion even by the experts on what the requirements really are. A case in point is the Core Measure for both EPs and EHs: Capability to exchange key clinical information.

Well, it is pretty clear what is meant by “key clinical information”. We are talking about problem lists, medication lists, medication allergies, and diagnostic test results, etc. It is also clear that this measure cannot be excluded. It is also obvious that what is required is the attestation that the EP or EH has “performed at least one test of certified EHR technology’s ability to electronically exchange key clinical information”. So what is this business about “electronically exchange”? Is it OK to copy the health information to a thumb drive or CD and carry it from one EHR to another and import the file? What about faxing or emailing the clinical information and importing it some way to another system?

Well, we finally have some clarification and guidance from CMS that rules out the use of any physical media for this measure. Additionally, CMS says that “exchange is defined as electronic transmission and acceptance of key clinical information”. And by the way, that data is expected to be structured except for free text or scanned images. Go here for CMS clarification.

One interesting final twist on this measure is that: “An unsuccessful test of electronic exchange of key clinical information will be considered valid for meeting the measure of this objective.”