Chapter 8. Meaningful Use Overview

What actually is meaningful use? Even though the term arises whenever the current U.S. healthcare system is under discussion, we find very few people who are actually familiar with the specifics of each guideline and requirement. A little background first is important.

Many people wrongly believe that meaningful use was part of the healthcare legislation passed by Congress in 2010. In fact, it was part of the economic stimulus passed more than a year before, the American Reinvestment Recovery Act (ARRA). That bill set aside $20 billion for incentives to encourage medical practices and hospitals to use new technologies such as EHRs—but in specific and accountable ways that are denoted by the term meaningful use. These uses include gathering clear statistics on patient illnesses, improving interaction with patients and others using the Internet, and utilizing accuracy and error control systems such as ePrescribing.

As with many government regulations, the ARRA offers a problematic amount to sort through. We have digested and analyzed the 5,000+ pages of legislation and rule-making by HHS, ONC, and CMS and created this concise interactive guide to help you understand the specific criteria that can make you meaningful use compliant and eligible to receive the current incentive payments. The guidelines are very different depending on whether you are part of an outpatient practice (ambulatory) or a hospital facility (inpatients). We list the outpatient ...

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