HHS document details steps medical facilities can take to achieve meaningful use

To help private physicians and small medical facilities better navigate their transition to electronic medical records software, several agencies under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have teamed up to release a guide on how these healthcare providers can achieve the meaningful use benefits. The guide, which is simply called "How To Get Started," is available for free online from healthit.gov, and includes five steps.

Doctors who are having trouble locating the document can go to the aforementioned site or look to alternative channels provided by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).

"We are promoting the site through various channels including active promotion through social media, such as regular blogging and Twitter," an ONC spokesman told InformationWeek in an email.

According to the document, the first step medical professionals can take is to assess the readiness of their practice. This includes designing an implementation plan that is specific to the needs and requirements of the facility. Next, doctors and facility managers are advised to plan their approach using previously gathered information, before then selecting to a certified EMR software.

This step may be the most difficult for busy doctors. As such, they could benefit by securing the help of outside consulting agency that can provide recommendations based on the information doctors have collected by completing the first two steps.

For example, some providers may benefit the most from Lytec EMR software, as it features Bright Note Technology, access to protocols based on demographics and other advanced features. However, for other facilities Medisoft or McKesson software may be more beneficial to some facilities, and as such, consultation may be the best way these medical providers can make the best decision for their needs.