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MultiCare Health System successfully demonstrates health record
MultiCare Health System is among the first in Washington to show that its electronic health record, called MultiCare Connect, meets the requirements of a Center for Medicare and Medicaid Service incentive program, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
”This is an endorsement of our electronic health record and our implementation of a system that seamlessly connects our patients and providers,” said Florence Chang, Chief Information Officer at MultiCare Health System. “Our electronic health record changes the way we serve our community and helps ensure that we treat them in the most efficient and safest way possible.”
The Tacoma-based health system received the first payment last week as part of a federal incentive program for successfully demonstrating the “meaningful use” of the electronic health record. The first payment totaled about $4.4 million. A second payment is expected in October.
Hospitals and providers who have a certified electronic health record can demonstrate that their systems meet the specific “meaningful use” criteria as defined by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. Eligible hospitals and doctors qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments when they adopt certified electronic health record technology and use them in a “meaningful way.” This program is aimed at accelerating the transformation of health care that was already happening at some institutions, moving the entire country closer to nationwide electronic patient records, which leads to better health care.
One key requirement needed to meet meaningful use is the capability to electronically exchange information among providers and patient-authorized entities. With a patient’s consent, MultiCare can securely exchange information with other health systems, improving care and avoiding unnecessary duplication of services.
Electronic health records offer health care providers secure access to complete and accurate information about their patients. The digital records mean greater and quicker access to visit notes, diagnostic test results, X-ray images and other information that can be easily shared among doctors’ offices and hospitals. They also give patients a bigger role in their care, with the ability to make appointments and see test results securely over the Internet using their personal health record, MyChart (Powered by MultiCare) from anywhere.
MultiCare began implementing an electronic health record more than 10 years ago. All MultiCare outpatient clinics, hospitals and provider offices are linked to MultiCare Connect. The system includes provider order entry, electronic imaging, bedside barcoding of hospital medications and other features that ensure patients get the safest and best care possible.
MultiCare received the 2009 HIMSS Davies Organizational Award for the implementation of the electronic health record.