The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) provided its statement on the definition of “meaningful use of health information technology” to a hearing of the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics, an advisory body to the Department of Health and Human Services. Compliance with this definition will determine whether hospitals and group practices qualify for Medicare and Medicaid financial incentives under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

As the professional group for healthcare information executives, CHIME serves as a voice for those who will implement health IT systems to improve patient care. Members are providing a realistic approach to the steps that must be taken to ensure electronic medical records are implemented in a way that will be most beneficial for clinicians and patients.

CHIME recommends:

The use of quality metrics and outcomes regardless of technology in place

A phased approach to encourage early adoption without raising the bar too high too early

Exploring alternative means to connectivity in the short term and connection to an HIE over time

Consideration of alternative means to use of CCD for exchange of health data

Speaking during the public comment portion of the hearing, CHIME Board Member Tim Stettheimer, senoir vice president & regional chief information officer at St. Vincent’s Health System said, “I would ask the Committee to consider one question as we deliberate and discuss the meaningful use of electronic health records: Who will we leave behind? Which patients, physicians, or hospitals will we leave behind as we set up progressive hurdles and requirements for meaningful use? It is critical to realize that meaningful use encompasses three interrelated efforts: technology, although not in a componentized sense; outcomes; and clinical evidence-based process improvement. We should incentivize movement along any and all of those three dimensions and make the path to progress the path of least resistance.”