5 Steps to Use Health IT in Meaningful Ways

Meaningful use is still a challenge for many organizations that face issues from data quality to patient identification and data security. Major investments and installation of health IT do not ensure the use of health IT by clinicians, physicians or patients.

However, here are five steps that I recommend to help organizations achieve the desired success of using health IT in meaningful ways.

  1. Incorporating the concepts behind meaningful use into the organization’s culture and goals can help improve adoption. Remember – improving the quality of patient care is at the heart of the meaningful use agenda.
  1. Think more broadly about access and availability of important health data (provider and patient data) as a good outlook to adopt – health IT is just one enabler of this vision.
  1. Invest in technologies that enable achievement of data exchange and recognize health IT and meaningful use are not just an IT project. Success often comes when the organization supports collaboration across
    • business units,
    • information technology,
    • patient care settings, and
    • external providers of care (i.e. pharmacies, long-term care facilities, home care etc.).

Together, these groups need to establish processes that allow capture and display of the right patient data at the right time to the right person in the right format.

  1. Report meaningful use indicators to demonstrate effective use of health IT to improve outcomes by:
  • Capturing indicators that meet the requirements of multiple programs to help reduce work effort; and
  • Focusing on data capture integrity and an organized method of data validation with physicians as key participants in the process.
  1. Engage with leadership, physicians, office staff, patients and others to provide education as a communication strategy. Ensure there is a point of contact for education.  Coordination is essential given the nuances of the meaningful use program and its correlative and workflow management requirements.