Whether he is discussing systems implementations, standards, federal policies, favorite vegetarian dishes or the beauty of New England, John Halamka's blog, "Life as a Healthcare CIO," is worth reading. Two recent posts bear particular notice for health information technology professionals.

Halamka, a practicing physician, serves as CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School. On Oct. 18, he posted the hospital's information systems operating plan for fiscal year 2011. Top projects include achieving meaningful use for 1,700 clinicians and go-live of a suite of new laboratory information systems that replace 13 major applications.

Scroll down to Oct. 13 and there's a comprehensive clarification of an interesting question about meaningful use criteria: Since attestation is required for only five of the 10 "menu set" items, does the unused technology need to be installed?

Based on conversations with vendors and government officials, Halamka's answer is yes. The meaningful use rule specifies that eligible providers must "utilize" certified electronic health records so all the technology must be installed, regardless of whether providers are reporting on the use of particular functions. He then gives several examples of how providers may attest to meaningful use of menu functions.

The blog is available at http://geekdoctor.blogspot.com/.

--Joseph Goedert

 

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