Guest Column | May 20, 2014

Patients And Patience: Will Quality Of Care Suffer Because Providers Miss The Point Of Meaningful Use?

Steve Baker, president, Eyefinity

By Steve Baker, president, Eyefinity

Long-term thinking and planning are critical to applying EHRs in a truly meaningful way – a goal that not only can but must be achieved to build the most interactive and patient-driven healthcare system in the world.

Consider a patient who has gone to the eye doctor for the first time complaining about changes in vision. Her eye doctor discovers signs of diabetes in the blood vessels at the back of her eyes and refers the patient to her primary care physician for follow-up care. Imagine being able to upload pictures of the blood vessels for her primary doctor to review and then seamlessly coordinating care back with the eye doctor through an integrated system. That could be the power of electronic health records (EHR) when applied in a “meaningful way.”

A new study has prompted much discussion in recent weeks after claiming that meaningful use (MU) has no immediate correlation to the quality of patient care. However, the intent of MU goes far beyond the immediate, and taking such a short-term view will not help the practice or the patient. In fact, by missing the value of EHRs and MU, the industry will create a significant and lasting disservice to current and future patients.

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