The tobacco use objective: Meaningful, or just blowing smoke?

Meaningful Use is supposed be, well, meaningful. But sometimes what's good in theory doesn't translate very well in practice.

Former hospital CFO pleads guilty to false MU attestation

Joe White, former chief financial officer at Tyler, Texas-based Shelby Regional Medical Center, pleaded guilty Nov. 12 to making a false statement to the government in order to obtain incentive payments under the Medicare Meaning Use program.

Research based on EHR data needs to account for, remove bias

Screening analyses using electronic health record data need to be refined to reduce the risk of bias and prevent "spurious" findings, according to a new report in eGEMs (Generating Evidence and Methods to Improve Patient Outcomes).

HHS OIG: EHRs remain a top management challenge

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) has once again identified the meaningful and secure exchange and use of electronic health information as one of the 10 biggest management and performance challenges facing HHS in the coming year, according to its latest report.

Captain Alicia Morton: ONC to remain in the EHR certification business

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT intends to forge on with its certification activities even though the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology will no longer be part of electronic health record certification, according to Captain Alicia Morton, the new head of the agency's health IT certification program.

Highlighting generic drugs in EHRs boosts generic prescribing, cuts care costs

The simple act of listing generic drugs first in a physician's electronic health record can substantially increase generic prescribing and lower the cost of healthcare, according to a new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

EHR processing errors cause improper payment of disability benefits to veterans

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' West Virginia regional office has been improperly paying disability benefits to some veterans, in part because staff is either not inputting information into the electronic health record or is ignoring alerts generated by the system, according to a new report by the VA's Office of Inspector General.

IOM recommends social, behavioral data for EHRs

Since the Institute of Medicine recommended last April that social and behavioral health information should be included in electronic health records, it convened a 13-member committee to determine which ones are most likely to affect health.


From a proposed list of 17 social and behavioral "domains," it winnowed that list down to 11 to be included as a guide for federal officials developing criteria for Meaningful Use Stage 3.

Providers deserve a better, more transparent appeals process

I'm sure I'm not the only person who's distressed to learn that the appeals process for the Meaningful Use program lacks clarity and appears arbitrary. So what's going on here? It's not that easy to find out.

EHR analysis can flag undiagnosed diabetes

In a paper urging the use of electronic diabetes registries, researchers illustrated that analysis of coding in electronic health records and the use of algorithms to sort through biochemical data can flag a significant number of people with undiagnosed diabetes.

AMA calls for MU penalties to be dropped

The American Medical Association continues to exert pressure to ease the burdens of the Meaningful Use program on physicians, this time approving a policy calling for the penalties to be dropped due to lack of interoperability and regulations be changed to allow electronic health records to be more usable.

Jim Tate: Meaningful Use audit appeals process a 'black box'

Providers that fail a Meaningful Use audit have the right to appeal the determination. However, some providers who take this step are running into roadblocks that render the process confusing and in some cases downright unfair.

CMS considering eCQMs for OPPS reporting

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, yet again, has used its payment rules as a vehicle for advancing electronic health records and health information exchange, this time in its final outpatient prospective payment system (OPPS) rule for 2015.

Clinical informatics specialists: We need to bring reality into Meaningful Use

Many providers simply aren't on the same playing field when it comes to Meaningful Use, which has played a big part in attestation, according to Dawn Ross, clinical informatics director for Indianapolis-based Indiana University Health.

MedStar's Peter Basch: Interoperability requires 'significant' MU change

The Meaningful Use program has become an impediment to achieving its own goal of meaningful interoperability, Peter Basch, M.D., medical director for ambulatory EHR and health IT policy for Columbia, Maryland-based MedStar Health, writes in a commentary at Health Affairs.

CMS, ONC need to get beyond Groundhog Day

I hate to say it, but isn't it about time that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT realized that they are trapped in a "Groundhog Day" time warp? In the 1993 movie of the same name, Bill Murray is condemned to repeat Feb. 2 until he finally realizes why he's stuck and then changes his ways--and his attitude--in order to move on. Except that we know that the movie had a happy ending. The direction of the Meaningful Use program is not so clear.

EHR-generated clinical quality information can be made more reliable

Providers can come together to standardize the data extracted from electronic health records in order to increase the reliability of quality measure reports, support quality improvement and align with national clinical reporting requirements, according to the results of a new case study published in eGEMs (Generating Evidence and Methods to Improve Patient Outcomes).

Meaningful Use Stage 2 attestation numbers tepid

The number of providers attesting to Meaningful Use in 2014 remains lackluster, with 43,898 eligible professionals (EPs) and 1,903 eligible hospitals (EHs) attesting for the 2014 reporting period, as of Nov. 1, despite the fact that there are now more than 500,000 active registrants signed up for the Meaningful Use program, according to the latest data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.


Of those attesters, just 11,478 EPs and 840 EHs attested to Stage 2 of Meaningful Use.

CIOs: EHR usability for record retrieval 'poor'

Electronic health records are falling down on the job when it comes to finding the information that they hold, according to a new survey from Frost and Sullivan.

CMS softens proposal to require EHRs for payment of chronic care management

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has relaxed--slightly--its proposal of requiring physicians to use electronic health records to be reimbursed for chronic care management. It won't drop the requirement but will allow practices to use either 2014 or 2011 certified systems.