The annual meeting of the Society of Imaging Informatics in Medicine (SIIM) occurred last week. If there is one call-to-action from this meeting, it is Meaningful Use matters for radiologists and their practices.
One of the reasons for the confusion is that, in the initial HITECH Act, radiologists were excluded. However, in April 2010, this changed with the passage of the Continuing Extension Act. With this update, outpatient was removed from the Eligible Hospital category, so most radiologists now qualify as an Eligible Provider.
The Dyer Lecture featured a rousing review on Meaningful Use in radiology. Keith J. Dreyer, DO, PhD, vice chairman of radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, was the speaker, and he dispelled many of the radiology Meaningful Use myths, including radiologists are not included in MU (Meaningful Use). Clearly stated, this is a myth, and it is time for radiologists to engage in various initiatives to qualify for the HITECH incentives.
During SIIM, Dr. Dreyer delivered a 10-step approach to Meaningful Use for radiology. Outlined below is the list, as reported by CMIO Magazine.
- Understand the fundamentals of MU.
- Determine eligibility and financial impact.
- Determine MU measure requirements and complete an exemption analysis.
- Meet with practice stakeholders including IT and medical staff.
- Meet with radiology IT vendors.
- Plan MU technological and operational strategies.
- If needed, acquire and implement MU technology.
- Register online with CMS.
- Monitor compliance regularly.
- Attest online with CMS.
As Dr. Dreyer indicated, “You need to discuss meaningful use plans with your vendor.” And, finally, from his SIIM presentation, one of the key points: Minimize radiologist workflow burden when moving your group toward Meaningful Use. If you remember one point, this may be it.
As Dr. Dreyer stated in his recent testimony during a public hearing hosted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services HIT Policy Committee (HITPC), Meaningful Use Workgroup on Meaningful Use and Specialists:
“In terms of how EHRs can facilitate specialty care of patients, what immediately comes to my mind is that patients’ records must provide access to diagnostic images and related data. This access significantly benefits patients by reducing duplicative tests, thus reducing radiation exposure and healthcare costs.”