Understanding Meaningful Use — Testing the HL7 V2 Messaging Standards

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Understanding Meaningful Use with a Focus on Testing the HL7 Version 2 Messaging Standards

Use of electronic health records (EHRs), especially systems with clinical decision support capabilities, has been shown to enable quality improvement in healthcare as well as reductions in the cost of that care when used regularly in the practice of medicine. These facts contributed to the impetus for Congress to enact the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, a component of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. The HITECH ACT provides funding for incentive payments to physicians and hospitals that adopt health information technology (HIT). Initially focusing on adoption of EHRs, approximately $17 billion in Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) incentive payments are available through CMS’s HITECH-based EHR Meaningful Use (MU) Program, to be paid to providers that attest to or demonstrate “meaningful use” of “certified” EHR technology (CEHRT). In response to this mandate for use of CEHRT, the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) established a certification program and published EHR certification criteria. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) developed test procedures and conformance test tools based on the ONC’s EHR certification criteria. This article briefly explains the history and purpose of the ONC certification program, and provides insight into the test procedures and testing process for the Health Level 7 (HL7) Version 2 (V2) messaging standards. It also presents an overview of the test tools that are used by testing laboratories to ensure that vendors’ EHR technologies meet the requirements of CEHRT.

Adoption and use of CEHRT is required for eligible professionals (EPs) and eligible hospitals (EHs) to become “meaningful users” and to receive payments from the CMS EHR Incentive Program. On January 3, 2011, the ONC released the Final Rule to establish a permanent program for certification of Health IT. This “ONC HIT Certification Program” was launched on October 4, 2012, replacing the previous temporary program.

Click here to download the HL7 May newsletter to read more (page 11.)

Source: www.hl7.org; Robert Snelick and Sheryl Taylor; May 1, 2013.

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