Emergency Department Information System Plays Important Role in Meeting Meaningful Use CriteriaDate: September 2012
By Thomas L. Grossjung
President and CEO
veEDIS Clinical Systems
(954) 344-0498. ext. 2003
As hospitals strive to meet Meaningful Use requirements to qualify for federally funded incentive payments, many grapple with the issue of budgetary constraints and question their organization's ability to be compliant. An easy-to-use Emergency Department Information System (EDIS) can provide the solution to these challenges. Emergency Department Information Systems are electronic medical record systems designed specifically to manage data and workflow in support of Emergency Department patient care and operations.
Hospitals are beginning to recognize that an EDIS installed in their emergency room can be a primary strategy to meet Meaningful Use standards, and can serve as a launching point for the remainder of the hospital. In December 2010, CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) clarified that hospitals that have not installed an inpatient EHR can still demonstrate Meaningful Use with information drawn from a system such as an EDIS, as long as it is certified as a "Complete EHR."
Smaller community hospitals and rural hospitals with limited resources face the same challenges as larger hospitals to elevate satisfaction levels, reduce wait times and move confidently toward Meaningful Use compliance. Traditionally however, they lack funds for IT infrastructure upgrades, electronic medical record (EMR) implementations and other capital improvements.
Because their emergency departments function as the hospital's front door to local residents, what happens in the ED has a direct effect on the hospital’s reputation and subsequent community support. Between 60% and 70% of rural hospital patients come through the emergency department compared to only 20% for many urban hospitals.
The consequence is that as much as 90% of lab, x-ray, radiology work and prescription order entries originate from a rural hospital's emergency department. The fact is that revenue optimization for rural hospitals is driven by their emergency departments, not from actual emergency department billing because of its key role as the primary generator of additional healthcare services that engage other hospital departments.
As a result, a good EDIS is vital to a hospital's core strategy and necessary to meet Meaningful Use criteria. Orders placed (labs, x-rays, medications, etc.) will be converted to computerized provider order entry (CPOE) which is an essential element of qualifying for Meaningful Use.
Unfortunately, many hospitals have reported a budget busting increase of as much as 80% in IT costs incurred in the conversion to EMR software to meet Meaningful Use standards. It is those hospitals that would benefit from a cloud-based software-as-a-service EDIS. Advantages of the cloud-based technology are that it does not require capital expenditures typically associated with internal IT infrastructure or upgrades to existing servers, and it can be up and running in less than 60 days.
By implementing an easy to use EDIS with turnkey installation in your emergency department, your hospital may well be on the path to achieving Meaningful Use criteria and receiving its share of the federally funded incentive payments.