Discussing How Meaningful Use Applies to Radiology

Meaningful Use” is a government program which will require the use of electronic medical records by the majority of hospitals and practicing physicians. This three stage program has the overall goal to improve efficiency and quality of healthcare, specifically through documentation and sharing of data (Stage 1), clinical decision making support (Stage 2), and improved clinical outcomes (Stage 3).  In 2015, this program will become mandatory and potentially result in financial penalty to eligible hospitals and physicians who do not meet the listed program criteria.

Radiologists, over 84 percent of who qualify as eligible providers and require compliance with the program, are struggling to adhere to the current criteria which are most relevant to primary care practices and include components of recording patient problem lists, vital signs, and smoking status.   The authors of the editorial published online ahead of print in Radiology, collaborated to develop categories of criteria for the use of electronic health record, which are most relevant and “useful” to radiology practices.  These seven categories are electronic image storage and display, information exchange between referring providers and radiologists, information exchange between healthcare institutions, patient engagement, clinical decision support for both referring providers and radiologists, and clinical quality measurement.

It is the goal and hope of the authors that through increased participation and awareness of radiologists and the societies that represent us, that these criteria can be considered and adapted by policy makers prior to the program’s completion in 2015.

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