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South Nassau is Top Performer Nationally in Use of Electronic Medical Records and Patient Safety According to Medicare

Posted: Dec. 21, 2014

Requirements of Meaningful Use Stage 2 Enhance Patient Safety, Quality After months of meetings, meticulous planning sessions and detailed test runs, on October 27, South Nassau Communities Hospital became one of the first hospitals on Long Island and one among only 840 hospitals nationwide to complete the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) Electronic Health Record Incentive Program attestation requirement for Meaningful Use Stage 2 (MU2).

MU2 increases health information exchange between providers and promotes patient engagement by giving patients secure online access to their health information. Just 14.6% of hospitals in the U.S. have been able to attest for MU 2 certification.

“The objectives that had to be achieved were challenging, but our EMR Team of nurse and pharmacist informaticists, supported by our performance improvement staff and Allscripts Healthcare consultants, worked tirelessly to mold the Allscripts Sunrise EMR into a platform that could capture and report our compliance data to CMS, on a stringent schedule. That is typical of the drive and motivation behind the healthcare team at South Nassau,” said Richard Murphy, president and CEO.

South Nassau utilizes Allscripts Sunrise™ electronic health record (EHR). Allscripts Sunrise provides computerized provider order entry (CPOE) and features including integrated pharmacy and bar-coded medication administration. Allscripts Sunrise aggregates and organizes patient data, delivering it seamlessly into clinicians’ workflow, enhancing the planning and coordination of care provided to patients.

“Reaching this major milestone could not have been accomplished without the dedication of numerous hospital staff and physician leadership focused on the requirements defined by CMS,” said Mark Bogen, South Nassau’s chief financial officer.

The U.S. government introduced the Meaningful Use program as part of the 2009 Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act to encourage health care providers to show "meaningful use" of a certified Electronic Health Record (EHR). The program sets specific objectives that eligible healthcare providers must achieve to qualify for the CMS EHR Incentives Program. Meaningful use is defined by the CMS as using certified electronic health record (EHR) technology to:

  • Improve quality, safety, efficiency, and reduce health disparities;
  • Engage patients and family;
  • Improve care coordination, and population and public health;
  • Maintain privacy and security of patient health information.
According to the CMS, many of the meaningful use requirements directly affect patients, giving them greater access to their health information and enhancing their relationship with their providers. It claims that whether patients have received electronic reminders about follow-up appointments or accessed electronic copies of their health information following visits to their physicians, patients are benefiting from health information technology because it has enhanced their experience and interaction with the health care system. Since the implementation of Meaningful Use, the CMS estimates that:
  • More than 190 million electronic prescriptions have been sent by eligible physicians for their patients;
  • More than 13 million patient reminders have been sent for patients aged 65 or older or 5 years of age or younger about preventive/follow-up care; and
  • More than 33 million patients have received electronic access to their health information
“We are very pleased to have achieved this important benchmark,” said John Mertz, South Nassau’s chief information officer at South Nassau. “The accomplishment underscores our commitment to the health and wellness of our patients and is a reflection of the dedication of our technical and clinical team members. We are looking forward to continuing to leverage technology to deliver the best possible outcomes for our patients.”