Experts: Push EHR progress even if feds won't help pay

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Experts: Push EHR progress even if feds won't help pay
Experts: Push EHR progress even if feds won't help pay
Long-term care providers might not be eligible for federal meaningful use incentives for electronic health records. But that does not mean that facilities should ignore these tools, experts stress.

If long-term care facilities hope to forge successful partnerships with acute care providers, EHRs will be part of the equation, Bill Russell, M.D., a top healthcare IT official, said at a presentation at the annual Long-Term and Post-Acute Care (LTPAC) Health Information Technology Summit in Baltimore.

Under Stage 2 meaningful use requirements, eligible hospitals will be required to exchange electronic clinical summaries with LTPAC providers, as interoperability can help providers facilitate better transitions of care, according to Russell and other experts.

EHRs can help long-term care providers participate in payment reform initiatives; generate summary of care records for each transition; and electronically track medications, experts stressed.

Moreover, forging relationships with other providers and adopting health information technology are critical to the survival of long-term care providers, authors of new guidelines believe.

The roadmap identifies five areas that will be crucial to success in the years to come:
• Care coordination
• Quality and process
• Business imperatives
• Consumer-caregiver
• Workforce development

While the LTPAC Health IT Collaborative ultimately hopes to have LTPAC included in the EHR Incentive Programs, its efforts signal the need for ineligible healthcare providers and organizations to keep pace with their eligible counterparts not only to avoid penalties, but  to provide their patients the best care possible.

“The roadmap is intended to stimulate grassroots activities, investments and advocacy collaboration among policy makers, researchers, vendors, providers, consumers and others,” said Deborah Green, vice president, HIM Solutions, the American Health Information Management Association.
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