Making Meaningful Use Sustainable

Making Meaningful Use Sustaninable

Four Core Tenets of Meaningful Use

I recently attended the Medical Group Management Association’s (MGMA) 2012 Annual Conference in San Antonio. It was my first pilgrimage to the MGMA flagship conference and I have to admit I was impressed. The exhibit hall was alive with products and services but it was the educational sessions that had the most meaning for me. One in particular session on meaningful use stands out in my mind and contained so much valuable content I can’t even begin to touch on the high points in just one post.

Jeff Loughlin is the executive director of the Regional Extension Center of New Hampshire. His session was entitled “Making Meaningful Use Meaningful and Sustainable”.  Jeff knows what he is talking about. It is obvious that he has spent years in the trenches helping clinical practices make the transition from paper to electronic health records. I bet he was focused on “meaningful use”  before that became a business plan for an entire industry of vendors and consultants. His PowerPoint deck was 111 slides long, and contained no fluff. It was a roadmap of HIT adoption: past, present, and future. Four of Jeff’s topics especially caught my interest. Over the next few weeks I invite you to come with me as I dive into Jeff’s perspective and vision.

A Call to Action

The first thing that struck me about Jeff’s presentation was where he started. He started with a call, a call to action. Before something monumental, like the rollout and adoption of health information, can occur, there must be a clear goal coupled with motivation. That can occur when clarity of intent and desire for a specific goal merge into one inevitable outcome. In the sphere of electronic health records that goal is easily expressed: Meaningful Use.

Jeff distills the journey to Meaningful Use with four core tenets.  Not quite the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism but close enough. Here they are:

  1. Meaningful use is the basic building block for future healthcare transformation
  2.  Meaningful use is built into the basic components of a patient visit
  3.  Meaningful use should NOT be viewed as a checklist but rather part of providing exceptional care
  4.  Meaningful use is a Team Sport

That’s it, short and sweet. Whether your practice has one provider, or one hundred, keeping those four statements in mind will help bring focus and keep a transitional effort on track.

Jim Tate is founder of EMR Advocate and a nationally recognized expert on the CMS EHR Incentive Program, certified technology and meaningful use.