A formal definition of meaningful use of electronic health records is in the works and should be released in the not-too-distant future, Charles Friedman, deputy national coordinator of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, said at a health IT conference.
Meaningful use is significant in that it changes the focus from technology potential to ways in which clinicians actually use electronic health records, Friedman said during the Government Health IT conference and exhibition, sponsored by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. Its also a key mechanism to trigger payment incentives for those using the technology.
In Friedmans definition, a meaningful user is someone who uses a certified electronic health record, exchanges health information, and reports on quality measures.
In other developments, adoption of standards and certification criteria for the electronic exchange and use of health information is expected take place on Dec. 31 of this year, Friedman said. At least four of six grant programs under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (the health IT component of the stimulus law) will be formally announced sometime soon, and a revision of HHS strategic plan on health IT adoption is also under development, he said.