Hospitals may well wish to hire a consultant to help them wade through the meaningful use rules and formulate a strategy for compliance. But John Halamka, M.D., gave the industry a 25-point cheat sheet for that strategy via a Jan. 3 posting on his Web blog,

Halamka is CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, co-chair of the HIT Standards Committee, chair of the Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel and an emergency physician.

Halamka recommends printing three tables in the rules, spanning 21 pages, to guide all planning efforts. He then lists 25 specific items, based on meaningful use requirements, and lists the existing software applications that his organization can use to support the requirements, or steps necessary to take.

Meeting meaningful use requirements is a tall order, Halamka acknowledges. But breaking the task down into discrete steps makes it doable.

--Joseph Goedert

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