Joining an accountable care organization to better meet meaningful use 2 standards

Healthcare practitioners across the country are making impressive improvements with their adoption of electronic medical records software, reports a new survey by the Optum Institute for Sustainable Health and research partner Harris Interactive.

According to the results, 87 percent of the polled American hospital CIOs have implemented an EMR system. Additionally, 70 percent reported that their facility has successfully achieved standards outlined in the criteria of meaningful use 1 –  a stipulation under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 that says medical facilities must deploy their EMR system in a meaningful way.

However, barriers still exist regarding compliance with meaningful use 2, an additional component of ARRA that states hospitals must use electronic exchange to improve the quality of a facility's practice.

"Hospital chief information officers are clearly signaling that technology gaps remain, genuine interoperability remains elusive, and – as a result – most U.S. hospitals are still some way off from being fully ready to play their part in managing population health and its related financial risk," Optum Institute chairman, Simon Stevens, said in the report.

In response, small medical facility managers should consider joining an accountable care organization. These institutions, composed of multiple healthcare providers who work together, ultimately receive greater Medicare compensation for providing increased quality care by performing as a collective rather than individual institutions.

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, this is a new incentive model to motivate hospitals, healthcare providers and doctors to collaborate in innovative ways.  

To best prepare a practice to enter such a collective, facility managers should consider deploying the services of a medical technology consulting company that can help implement a software suite such as Lytec 2011 to successfully meet criteria for meaningful use 1. Once a facility has brought their internal compliance metrics up to speed, the facility can then take the appropriate measures to successfully comply with standards of meaningful use 2.