CSC Creates Website to Aid Electronic Medical Records Use

IT service provider CSC's online forum lets health care IT professionals share notes on how to achieve meaningful use of electronic records to qualify for incentives under the Obama administration's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. IBM's Initiate software arm is also focused on providing software for health care information exchanges to help them adhere to the federal mandate on EMRs.

IT service provider CSC launched its Meaningful Use Community Website July 21 to provide an online forum for the health care industry in which people can share ideas and learn from experts on how to achieve meaningful use of electronic health records.

According to David Hampshire, CSC's senior partner and managing director for health delivery, the community will be a portal where health care providers can access blogs and analysis and get feedback on how to implement meaningful use guidelines. "They'll have a place to go where they can get a lot of feedback and a lot of insight in short order," Hampshire told eWEEK.

Jive Software's social-business software powers the CSC Meaningful Use Community site.

The exchange of health information is one of the objectives of the final meaningful use guidelines announced by the Department of Health and Human Services July 13.

Under the Obama administration's ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act), health care providers can qualify for up to $27 billion in incentives from Medicare and Medicaid to implement EHRs or EMRs (electronic medical records) beginning in 2011.

"Information sharing is critical in helping the health care industry quickly and meaningfully adopt electronic health records," Judy Hanover, research manager with IDC Health Insights, said in a statement. "Accurate and timely information will help providers to implement EHRs appropriately and in time to qualify for meaningful use incentives."

With the HHS meaningful use document coming in at 864 pages, an online community dedicated to digesting these guidelines could be beneficial for health care IT professionals.

"CSC's Meaningful Use Community is providing a place for the industry to come together, exchange ideas and learn from experts and peers," Hanover added.

In a survey released on July 22, CSC interviewed IT executives, academic medical centers and IDNs (integrated delivery networks or multihospital systems) regarding their priorities and challenges in health care IT and found that meaningful use was a top priority for 84 percent of IT executives.

The CSC survey also found that 51 percent of hospitals aim to qualify for meaningful use funds in 2011.

The biggest challenges reported by subjects in the study were physician documentation, reporting quality metrics and implementing HIEs (health information exchanges).

Recently, Verizon announced an HIE accessible via the cloud. Another player in the HIE space is IBM's Initiate, which offers master data management software.

Initiate Exchange, launched in March, powers the CareSpark HIE for the central Appalachian region. By sharing information in regional exchange networks, health care IT providers aim to improve the delivery of care through physician coordination. Storing data in an HIE also allows physicians to better manage prescription delivery, fight fraud and foster patient privacy, according to Initiate.