Hospitals take different paths going through the electronic health records meaningful use process, but regardless of the route, many end up in the emergency department.

A session during HIMSS12 in Las Vegas will examine the MU travels taken by Duncan (Okla.) Regional Hospital and University of Louisville Hospital in Kentucky. Computerized physician order entry is a meaningful use criteria; 85 percent of total order volume at Duncan Regional now is done via CPOE. That’s because, spurred by meaningful use, the hospital implemented the technology in inpatient wards and the ED at the same time with different systems--Meditech in the wards and T-Systems in emergency. “I would not recommend that kind of pain to anybody,” says Roger Neal, vice president of information technology and CIO.

The hospital has attested for Medicaid meaningful use and expects in the first quarter of 2012 to attest for the far more comprehensive Medicare MU program. In addition to CPOE, meaningful use measures where the ED plays a big role include turnaround times, time to admit, and stroke and VTE measures, Neal says. “Focus on what you can do in the ED now to facilitate meaningful use readiness.”

A big lesson learned for the information technology department during the process was how little the I.T. staff really knew about how physicians operate, Neal says. I.T. staffers have lots of experience working with nurses and pharmacy, particularly with their workflows. And while the department had a panel of clinicians to work out the workflow challenges of CPOE and other measures, and spread the message of coming changes, “We wish we would have had a broader pool of clinician expertise,” Neal says. Instead of relying on four or five physicians, Neal wishes he had involved 15 to 20. “Be at clinician meetings; be with them every day if you can.”

The session, “Emergency Medicine EHR Helps Drive Enterprise Meaningful Use Readiness,” is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 11 a.m.


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