ellenI recently posted several blogs that focused on prominent themes at HiMSS 2015 such as patient engagement and healthcare IT security. I want to wrap up the series with a final reflection on another major theme at HiMSS this year: meaningful use.

As you probably know, health systems in the US are entering Meaningful Use Stage 3, which – according to a post by Mike Miliard over at Healthcare IT News

“Is meant to drive better-quality, more cost-effective and coordinated care by improving the way providers are paid and – crucially – bolstering better information sharing.”

Better information sharing? That’s music to my ears. As a side note: it’s not only important for US health systems. In fact it’s important to health systems all over the world that want to improve accuracy, increase efficiency, and drive quality care.

Clinical Quality Measures

Across all stages of the meaningful use saga, clinicians and hospitals have been required to report on specific clinical quality measures (CQMs) to demonstrate compliance. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for 2014 and beyond

“All providers must select CQMs from at least three of the six key health care policy domains recommended by the Department of Health and Human Services’ National Quality Strategy.”

These six areas include:

  1. Patient and family engagement
  2. Patient safety
  3. Care coordination
  4. Population and public health
  5. Efficient use of healthcare resources
  6. Clinical processes/effectiveness

Improved Information Access, Faster IT, and a Better Quality of Care Delivery

Improved information sharing – and better, faster access to information in general – can go a long way toward success across many of these listed areas. In my patient engagement post, for example, I made the case that patient engagement (#1) is linked to physician engagement – and little promotes dis-engagement more than doctors preoccupied with their devices and struggling with IT during patient/physician exchanges. Hospitals can improve in this area with better, faster and easier access to patient-related information.

The same is true when it comes to population health management (#4) – where considerable focus is on reducing readmissions. One thing we know in this area is that patients who are properly educated regarding things like medications, exercise and diet tend to recover faster and stay healthier – which helps minimize the threat of readmission. To facilitate this education process, clinicians need better, faster and easier access to information. And because much of this education happens when the patient is preparing to leave the hospital, streamlining the discharge process is a must. Why not use automated notifications to help clinicians to complete required tasks, or maybe automated routing to help speed the discharge process in a way that ensures more accuracy?

Regarding the drive for the efficient use of healthcare resources (#5), one giant obstacle to success is a slow and frustrating IT experience. When physicians can’t do their jobs on the systems you provide, what do they do? Quite often, they waste time resolving technical issues themselves or finding work-arounds that may put your health system at risk of non-compliance. But what if you provided automated, role-base access to information for all of your clinicians – with fast and easy logons and high-performance virtual workspace experiences?

This would minimize risk and free up time for your clinicians to focus more on their patients. In fact, I’ve observed from RES customers that when physicians have fast and easy access to relevant data for the patients they see (rather than fiddling with their devices or struggling with IT issues), they can actually see one or two more patients per day. And, of course, the same efficiency can help with improve clinical processes/effectiveness (#6) – where a frustrating IT experience is what often stands in the way of productivity and a higher quality of care delivery.

Across all of these four areas, customers of RES have been able to make significant progress on meeting the kinds of targets described by the meaningful use criteria – both in the US and globally. Want to learn more? Visit www.ressoftware.com/healthcare-it-trifecta.