Meaningful Use

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act provides HHS with the authority to establish programs to improve health care quality, safety, and efficiency through the promotion of health information technology (HIT), including electronic health records and private and secure electronic health information exchange.
 
Under HITECH, eligible health care professionals and hospitals can qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments when they adopt certified EHR technology and use it to achieve specified objectives.
 
The Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs will provide incentive payments to eligible professionals, eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals (CAHs) as they adopt, implement, upgrade or demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology.
 
Two regulations have been released, one of which defines the “meaningful use” objectives that providers must meet to qualify for the bonus payments, and the other which identifies the technical capabilities required for certified EHR technology.
  • Incentive Program for Electronic Health Records: Issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), this final rule defines the minimum requirements that providers must meet through their use of certified EHR technology in order to qualify for the payments.
  • Standards and Certification Criteria for Electronic Health Records: Issued by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, this rule identifies the standards and certification criteria for the certification of EHR technology, so eligible professionals and hospitals may be assured that the systems they adopt are capable of performing the required functions.