Meaningful Use of HIT in the Managed Care Setting

With new models of care delivery, reformation of outdated fee-for-service payment systems, and collaboration of groundbreaking provider-payer partnerships, the changing landscape of the healthcare industry is irrefutable. Yet, the integration of health information technology (HIT) continues to be an area of deliberation for many managed care professionals.

With new models of care delivery, reformation of outdated fee-for-service payment systems, and collaboration of groundbreaking provider-payer partnerships, the changing landscape of the healthcare industry is irrefutable. Yet, the integration of health information technology (HIT) continues to be an area of deliberation for many managed care professionals.

Although there are programs designed to encourage providers into using HIT like electronic health records (EHRs), as many as 17% of participants in those EHR incentive program have dropped out since 2011. On the surface, these troubling rates might raise concern as to whether HIT innovations can be successfully adopted into existing health practices. However, these rates may not be due to an aversion to work with health technology. In fact, many providers are just unsatisfied with their current EHR software, but are unable to afford alternative programs. Other poor EHR implementation may simply be due to insufficient planning for integration, or physician’s reluctance to lose time with caring for patients to learn how to adapt everyday HIT use.

In an era of increasing need for meaningful use of EHR technology, most providers are seeking ways to improve patient outcomes by raising the quality of care, and reducing costs. This is seen as many providers and other healthcare professionals are turning to accountable care organizations (ACOs) and patient-centered medical homes (PCHM). One reason for the drive? The shared use of HIT helps provide better data analytics, develop greater enhanced alert systems for high-risk patients, and offers more effective methods for tracking patients’ episodes of care. Because ACO participants must heavily weigh the risks that come with such payment model participation, efficiently managing care through HIT is a must.

The 2009 Health Information Technology for Economic Health (HITECH) Act worked to solidify the countrywide initiative to promote the adaption and meaningful use of HIT. The National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, Farzad Mostashari, MD, ScM, serves to oversee this implementation of HITECH, as well as the general use of HIT in the United States.

“We’re making really, really good progress on adoption,” Dr Mostashari recently said. “And it’s not just people buying the systems, but beginning to use them in certain ways we think are necessary in order to achieve the goals of safety, quality and patient-centered, coordinated care.”

Dr Mostashari, who will also be serving as a guest editor for the upcoming 3rd Annual American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC) HIT issue, notes that despite hesitation from some fronts of the industry, meaningful use of HIT continues to grow:

When we started, we wondered “Are we going to be able to meet 35% or 45%?” Now people are coming in at 90%. What it shows is that these systems aren’t something you do on the side. These are the new operating system of health care. If you’re going to use it, you’re going to use it as part of how you do your work.

Early complications are anticipated with HIT adaptation, but much like the greater reform of healthcare, changes are necessary and transformation is required in healthcare technology. Getting ahead on meaningful use of HIT is essential, because by 2015, providers who accept Medicare patients will face a penalty if they do not successfully adopt HIT.

Around the Web

Electronic Health Record Use on Rise

Electronic Health Record Use on Rise [AJMC]

What’s behind the 17% EHR Incentive Program dropout rate? [EHR Intelligence]

EHRs drive proliferation of ACOs, PCMHs in quest for quality [EHR Intelligence]

Meet Farzad Mostashari, the bow-tie bureaucrat convincing doctors to go digital [The Washington Post]