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Meaningful Use of Electronic Health Records

James Weiss, MD

Primary Health Medical Group is not only the first health care organization in the state of Idaho to have a physician successfully attest to the Meaningful Use of electronic health records, but also have multiple physicians. Twenty-two, in fact.

James Weiss, MD, a Family Physician at the Primary Health Medical Group Meridian Clinic achieved the criteria set forth under Meaningful Use by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the HITECH Act in August 2011. The other providers followed a few months later. This means that the health care provider is actively using electronic health records to improve patient care and can accurately report on health related achievements. President Obama signed the HITECH Act in February 2009 to encourage physicians and hospital providers to utilize electronic health records in a “Meaningful Way”.

One of the many goals of the Act was to get health care providers reporting data in the same format so that it could be compared and analyzed to create standards for patient care and treatment plans. In order to qualify for Meaningful Use, health care providers must meet a specific set of criteria for 90 consecutive days on a certified electronic health records system.

“I’m happy to incorporate the Meaningful Use guidelines in my practice,” stated James Weiss, MD. “I believe demonstrating our effective use of electronic health records is vital to promoting cost-effective 21st century medicine. I would never dream of going back to paper charts now that I use the electronic health record. My patients love the fact that I am connected electronically to their pharmacies, their hospital records, and their personal email if they wish to set up the secure messaging system. I would encourage every physician in the United States to adopt an electronic health record and meet the Meaningful Use standards.”

“The criteria outlined in Meaningful Use is directly related to improved patient care,” said David Peterman, MD, President of Primary Health Medical Group. “Our electronic health records system has increased access for patients and improved our ability to evaluate patient care. There is less room for errors with tools such as ePrescriptions, printed information after the visit, and a single source of information. Patients can access their health records from their living rooms – even send and receive secure emails from their doctor if they have questions. The opportunities being presented to patients to take control of their health are quite remarkable.”

Primary Health Medical Group implemented eClinicalWorks electronic health records in all clinics in 2007. With the conversion to paperless electronic health records, every Primary Health patient now has one electronic chart accessible in all 11 locations. Health care providers can easily review patient histories, medications, allergies, lab work and more to provide consistent health care. The number of steps for the coordination of patient care and possibility for errors were reduced with electronic prescribing, interfaces for lab tests and radiology, and tracking of referrals.