Financial incentives from the U.S. federal government create a unique opportunity for state and local governments and healthcare providers all across the U.S. to invest in improved clinical, administrative and quality management processes.
Even though the challenges encountered in achieving ‘meaningful use’ are considered daunting, CSC officials have a few suggestions and best practices to show the way to more modernized, efficient healthcare practices.
1. Don’t wait for further information to get started – It is clear for the healthcare providers that they need to invest in Healthcare IT but the way to do this and means of compliance measurement is still not clear for them.
2. Remember it’s the right thing to do – It has to be understood that ‘meaningful use’ is just not about money or financial incentives. Healthcare IT is the right thing to do for both patients and the healthcare providers. This message has to be clearly communicated by all means as well as personally getting involved in the transition.
3. Put clinical and operational executives out front – Because achieving ‘meaningful use’ is a huge clinical and operational change project, it’s important to ensure clinical and operational executives take the lead, and make them accountable for success.
4. Make sure the work toward ‘meaningful use’ is highly coordinated – The Health IT migration is a huge change and will not work out well if it is planned by means of series of separate projects. It has to be by means of a highly coordinated effort with emphasis on automating clinical care and its various interlocking sub processes.
5. Pay close attention to process nuances, data and EHR functions – It’s critical to commit sufficient time and resources to ensure these elements are addressed in a way that supports clinician workflow and is workable for every patient care unit.
6. Consensus building takes too long – Tackling process improvement in a prolonged consensus building process doesn’t work in this case. Learn from the experience of others and make key strategic decisions upfront to guide the process and empower knowledgeable, credible representatives of departments and clinicians to decide upon the operational and tactical details.
7. Be prepared to take a hard line on standard practices – Workarounds abound and ‘our unit is different’ is often a long-held belief. It’s crucial to get everyone to adhere to newly standardized practices that are in line with industry best practices.
8. Address multiple aspects of EHR simultaneously – There is no time for multiple iterations and rounds of rework. Address new process and the role, look and feel of the EHR simultaneously, and create operational models that are understandable for workgroup sign-off.
9. Don’t leave out the users – Physicians and nurses especially will be affected by the transitions involved in achieving meaningful use. Always look at plans for rollout with these user groups in mind to minimize relearning, optimize their work and gain patient care processes that function efficiently.
10. Get the job done right the first time – Getting to meaningful use is a challenging journey and shortcuts and workarounds will lead to frustrated staff, stalled efforts and possibly even unsafe care. Always put ‘getting it right the first time’ ahead of ‘just getting it done.’
Meaningful Use Addresses Five National Health Policy Priorities of the U.S. Government:
*Improve quality, safety, efficiency and reduce health disparities;
*Engage patients and families;
*Improve care coordination;
*Improve population and public health; and
*Ensure adequate privacy and security protections for personal health information.