ROCK SPRINGS – Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County has successfully completed a consecutive 90-day period demonstrating “Meaningful Use” of an electronic health record (EHR) system as defined by the Centers of Medicare/Medicaid Services (CMS). In September of 2012, MHSC fully implemented the Quadramed QCPR electronic health record system. Once the EHR was implemented a Meaningful Use team was formed that included members from the hospital’s Finance and Information Technology departments. “This team has spent hundreds of hours verifying reports and data gathered in the EHR and matching it to the requirements set forth by CMS,” said Irene Richardson, Chief Financial Officer.
In August 2013, the Meaningful Use team reported that the data from the 90-day period showed that MHSC qualified for a federal incentive payment from Medicare by meeting the requirement. That payment was received at the end of October 2013 and will be used to help reimburse the costs acquired from purchasing hardware and the installation of the new software.
The Medicare EHR Incentive Program authorizes CMS to make incentive payments to eligible hospitals to promote the adoption and meaningful use of certified electronic health record systems. Their goal was to “Improve American health care delivery & patient care through an unprecedented investment in health information technology.”
The goals of the Meaningful Use program work hand in hand with the goals and visions of MHSC. The first is to improve quality, safety, and efficiency and reduce disparities by using the computerized-provider order entry. The second is to help engage patients and families in their own health care by being able to provide electronic copies of health information. The third is to improve population and public health by being able to submit electronic data to immunization registries. Next, is to ensure adequate privacy and security protections for personal health information that is created and maintained, which has been done with the help of the Information Technology personnel and an outside consulting company. The last, which is very crucial to MHSC, with all of the transfers out that are made to the U of U and other hospitals in the area, is to improve care coordination by exchanging key clinical information with other providers.
With the new system, the records can be transferred to another connected facility before the patient’s physical transfer has been completed, to better help the physicians and staff prepare for the patients greatest needs upon arrival. MHSC also continues to use advanced technology working with the State of Wyoming Health Information Exchange.