ONC issues EHR vendor guides to support heart health

Allscripts, Cerner and NextGen contribute guidance to help providers, says Thomas Mason, MD.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has released guides from three vendors aimed at helping providers leverage electronic health records to better identify at-risk patients and protect them against heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular events.

The vendor-specific guides contributed by Allscripts, Cerner and NextGen Healthcare were developed in response to an ONC call to action inviting all EHR vendors to participate in Million Hearts, a national initiative spearheaded by the Department of Health and Human Services to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.

The HHS-led effort is designed to improve the health of millions of Americans by focusing on four key areas—aspirin therapy, blood pressure control, cholesterol management and smoking cessation.

The guides detail how providers can use their respective EHR systems to extract patient-level data for the seven Million Hearts evidence-based clinical quality measures. The measures represent key outcomes related to the ABCS—aspirin therapy, blood pressure control, cholesterol management, and smoking cessation—to assist providers with implementing proven and effective interventions

“Healthcare professionals—many through the Regional Extension Center (REC) Program—have expressed the need for assistance in maximizing EHR functionality to improve the quality and efficiency of care being provided to patients,” said Thomas Mason, MD, ONC’s chief medical officer. “In showcasing these guides, we would like to encourage all EHR vendors to collaborate with ONC on developing additional Million Hearts EHR Optimization Guides.”

According to ONC, the ability of clinicians to share data through EHRs is critical to enabling continuous quality improvement and to tracking progress towards meeting the goal of Million Hearts. While participation in Million Hearts does not require providers to report quality measures, they are encouraged to choose the measures when they participate in quality reporting initiatives like the CMS Physician Quality Reporting System or the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.

Those vendors seeking more information on how to participate can contact ONC here.

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