I changed my mind about pursuing radiology and am currently working toward admission to the Health Information Management Technology (HI13) Associate of Applied Science Degree program at Georgia Northwestern Technical College. This blog post is an assignment for HIMT 1250: Health Record Content and Structure. The assignment was to answer the following question:
As the health information manager at Wellness Hospital, you have been asked to research what the hospital must prove to meet meaningful use guidelines. Discuss what the hospital can do to meet these guidelines in at least three well-formatted paragraphs.
Wellness Hospital must prove that its HIM meets meaningful use guidelines. “Meaningful use is defined as using certified EHR technology to: improve quality, safety, and efficiency and reduce health disparities; engage patients and family; improve care coordination and population and public health; [and] maintain privacy and security of patient health information” (Foltz, 2018, p. 13). Wellness Hospital can meet these meaningful use guidelines by showing it uses EHR in these ways.
First, Wellness Hospital needs to use EHR to “improve quality, safety, and efficiency and reduce health disparities” (Foltz, 2018, p. 13). Utilizing an EHR system to enter clinical data in a standardized way improves the data quality and reduces mistakes by eliminating the use of written and dictated notes. For this reason, simply implementing an electronic system to enter data will provide a safer environment and “better clinical outcomes” by removing confusion caused by mistakes (Foltz, 2018, p. 13). Having health information in electronic format also means staff can easily search it more quickly and efficiently, allowing for “more robust research data” (Foltz, 2018, p. 13). Using the EHR to send prescriptions to the patient’s pharmacy would be meaningful because it would also increase efficiency by eliminating several steps required when using the paper prescription format (Foltz, 2018, pp. 13-15).
Next, Wellness Hospital needs to use EHR to “engage patients and family” (Foltz, 2018, p. 13). After hospital staff records health information for a visit, patients can access their records through an online portal, and they can obtain their lab results as soon as they are available. The care provider can post any relevant educational material. Patients can enter data such a blood sugar readings. These portals also can have features to make appointments and contact the care provider. This portal provides a meaningful and engaging exchange between the hospital and the patient utilizing EHR technology. Such an exchange would provide transparency and empower the patient (Foltz, 2018, pp. 13-15).
Wellness Hospital also needs to use EHR to “improve care coordination and population and public health” (Foltz, 2018, p. 13). The EHR is accessible between providers and is a great way to exchange information regarding a patient who may receive care from more than one facility. Because of this improved access, care providers can better coordinate care for their patients. Since the EHR is widely accessible, data can also be searched and researched more broadly because of the EHR, which allows for better public health reporting and “improved population health outcomes” (Foltz, 2018, pp. 13-15).
Lastly, Wellness Hospital needs to use EHR to “maintain privacy and security of patient health information” (Foltz, 2018, p. 13). This information or “ePHI is defined in HIPAA regulation as any protected health information (PHI) that is created, stored, transmitted, or received in any electronic format or media.” (Compliancy Group, n.d.). Because electronic information can more easily be accessed and stolen maliciously, safeguards must be in place to keep patient data safe from hackers and data breaches. Such safeguards include firewalls and other security software. Furthermore, the hospital should have credentialed HIM staff and procedures for sharing records and backing up data. These standards will ensure data is safe from being lost or accessed by the wrong people.
Wellness Hospital must fulfill several proofs to show its meaningful use utilizing EHR. The hospital should improve the quality of data through the EHR, and it must create a more efficient and safer environment. The hospital should empower and engage its patients, improve public health, and enhance patient care coordination. It must also maintain patient privacy and keep information secure in the EHR. If Wellness Hospital successfully fulfills these criteria, then doing so will prove that the use of EHR is meaningful and meets the meaningful use guidelines (Foltz, 2018, p. 13).
Compliancy Group (n.d.). HIPAA Electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI). https://compliancy-group.com/hipaa-ephi-electronic-protected-health-information/
Foltz, D., & Lankisch, K. (2018). Exploring Electronic Health Records. (2nd ed.). St. Paul, MN: Paradigm Publishing.
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