If it's been said once, it's been said a thousand times – Meaningful Use is a marathon not a sprint. It' s a long and often tiring process. But, as every competitive runner knows, how you come out of the blocks sets the tone for the entire race.
At Hamilton General Hospital, we understood the need to tackle Meaningful Use head-on. We attested to Stage 1 as an early adopter and maintained that momentum into Stage 2, which allowed us to attest sooner than most hospitals using 2Q14 data. We learned valuable lessons along our path – advice that can help other facilities in the throes of Meaningful Use.
Teamwork makes the dream work – Meaningful Use goals can’t be met with only the nurses on board or if a small portion of your clinical team understands what needs to be accomplished. Meaningful Use affects everyone, so all groups, from administration to clinicians and IT staff, must share project ownership and embrace their role and requirements.
Hamilton infused this philosophy from the beginning. We involved clinicians so they could help select technologies that fit existing workflow. As a result, we experienced 100 percent physician EHR adoption, which became the underpinning for how we met the Meaningful Use Stage 2 CPOE core objective using only physician orders.
Be proactive, not reactive – Meaningful Use is an ongoing, ever-changing endeavor. You can’t take your foot off the gas after completing each stage. You must look ahead to the next set of requirements and plan, plan, plan.
Once we attested to Stage 1, we immediately reviewed what might be required for Stage 2. Even though the measures changed, we were on the right track in terms of evolving our processes when the final measures were announced. This created another great advantage. By continually striving to meet the next set of measures, we improved things so well that we exceeded the minimum requirements.
A long-term partner by our side – Our team was wholly committed to attesting early, which made a huge difference, but we also had help. We used several solutions from MEDHOST, including its enterprise EHR, EDIS, Business Intelligence solution, YourCareCommunity healthcare engagement platform and the YourCareLink comprehensive integration hub for public health reporting. MEDHOST’s technology and support along the way were invaluable and nicely complemented the efforts of our stellar internal team.
By attesting early, we will receive our incentive payments sooner. Moreover, will be able to reinvest that money to further improve care in our community. Although we haven’t reached the Meaningful Use finish line, our objective has always been to keep a steady pace. After all, it’s a long race!
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