Integrating CDS into meaningful use initiatives

During a day-long Performance Measurement and CDS Symposium on Feb. 20 at HIMSS12, attendees from eligible hospitals and provider practices learned that the integration of clinical decision support (CDS) at the point of care captures quality measures that will be essential for reporting to demonstrate meaningful use of electronic health record systems.

“Meaningful use is about transforming healthcare,” said Paul Tang, MD, vice president and chief medical information officer at Palo Alto Medical Foundation, during the symposium’s opening keynote. Tang is vice chair of the Health Information Technology Policy Committee, which advises the centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on the federal EHR Incentive Programs.

Meaningful use objectives translate into certification requirements in terms of improving care quality, safety and efficiency while reducing population health disparities, Tang explained. Other core objectives are engaging patients and families in their care; improving care coordination; improving population and public health; and ensuring privacy and security of personal health information.

And as attention shifts from Stage 1 objectives to Stage 2 (for which a Notice of Proposed Rule Making is expected to be issued by HHS this week), Tang said policy-makers are hoping to encourage a “just-do-it” approach to meaningful use.

“We’re moving from the exchange of information toward the care-coordination phase of the program,” Tang noted.  The use of CPOE for medication orders directly entered by licensed medical professionals is very important “and we’re moving into other important domains like lab test results and radiology,” he added.

“The thinking is that if you’re going to turn on the features, build it, configure it and train it, when you start things flowing, you’re not going to turn off the switch,” said Tang.