The secure exchange of health information is dependent on both the practice and EHR vendors facilitating the secure electronic transactions and extracting data for reporting quality measures. Even early adopters of EHR systems must ask vendors if they will be ready for meaningful use reporting. The vendor’s response will impact cost, implementation timeline, workflow processes, reporting, and patient safety.
A sampling of questions to ask include:
- Of my current health information exchange partners (labs, hospitals, pharmacies, imaging centers) where have you already built bi-direction interfaces with your EHR system?
- Does your system send e-prescribing alerts based on the content in the patient’s medication history?
- Does your system identify whether the drug is on the patient’s formulary?
- Does your system gather data on our computer-generated orders?
- Does your system generate a clinical summary?
- Does your system capture billing codes and push them into our PM system?
- Does your system identify patients with personal health records?
- Does your system ensure data validation so I know my workforce is entering information worth reporting?
The physician’s responsibility is to ensure that the practice/organization has met more stringent HIPAA privacy and security safeguards and that the infrastructure, including encryption is in place to support secure exchange. Vendors cannot prepare policies and procedures for physicians; they’ll have their hands full building their own as covered entities. Meaningful use reporting is dependent on both physician and vendor meeting their responsibilities.