Meaningful Use, "Folks are realizing they have to move ahead," states Dr. Lori Heim (AAFP)
Dr Lori Helm, President of the American Association of Family Physicians (AAFP) spoke recently about confusion surrounding "meaningful use". Heim said. "I think everyone is trying to figure out meaningful use and how they'll qualify based on that."
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is reviewing the public comments it received on the proposed meaningful use rule, and hopes to release a final rule early this summer. Among the concerns from the AAFP and other provider associations is worry that the all-or-nothing approach to, and strict timeline for EHR implementation will hurt the initiative.
"Folks are realizing they have to move ahead," Heim said. But moving ahead depends on how the meaningful use criteria are constructed, she added: "It ought to be incremental."
One element of moving ahead that could be started is a HIPAA risk assessment. It is a requirement of HIPAA HITECH as well as being one of the 23 items required to qualify for meaningful use. So it is important to do a risk assessment even if you are not sure about the other qualifications or even whether you are going to seek stimulus funds. The risk assessment will tell you where you are vulnerable and give you a prioritized work plan.
It is part of your duty to protect PHI. Get compliant, stay compliant, and prove compliance.