Computer Science Opens Online Community For EHR Meaningful Use

IT Service provider initiates online forum to help hospitals, health care providers decode federal regulations for EHR implementation and meaningful use.

Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC), a $16 billion provider of IT and managed services to businesses and the public sector headquartered in Falls Church, VA, said it has launched an interactive, online community whose main focus is to provide a forum for health care professionals to share information on meaningful use of electronic health record (EHR) technology.

CSC officials said that the online forum, called the CSC Meaningful Use Community, is collaborative in nature, intended to provide useful information and best practices from health care providers who have successfully implemented the EHR technology and met the federal government's meaningful use standards.

Under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 (ARRA) hospitals and health care practitioners using EHRs and documenting its meaningful use, based on specific rules, are eligible for substantial financial incentives.

The funds will come from some $17.2 billion set aside for EHR adoption under the $19.2 billion Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Care (HITECH) Act.

The money is intended, in part, to offset costs associated with implementing EHR and meeting meaningful use standards.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) posted final rules on the incentive plan. Decoding the regulations is critical for health care providers to meet federal guidelines for EHR implementation and meaningful use, prerequisites to qualify for the payouts.

"Now that the finalized standards have been released, hospitals have only months to demonstrate meaningful use,” said Mark Roman, CSC president, Healthcare Group.

“There is a massive need within this growing industry for accurate, up-to-date information and best practices, and the CSC Meaningful Use Community is a great resource for healthcare professionals looking for answers," he said.

Forum members, of which there are 250 so far, will have access to CSC experts and other industry leaders for advice and information about the federal government’s criteria and insights on EHR implementation and establishing meaningful use.

ARRA funding tied to meaningful use rules

The first round of incentives, which begin in 2011, are substantial—a 275 bed hospital could reach $6 million in bonus money. Facilities that do not meet federal guidelines for EHR and meaningful use by the 2015 deadline could see Medicare reimbursements pared as a result.

A recent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers indicated that up to 50 percent of U.S. hospitals may not meet the initial 2011 deadline to qualify for incentives.

TAGS: ARRA,EHR,hospital,CSC,meaningful use



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