The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society has published its definition of the “meaningful use of certified EHR technologies” requirement, as outlined in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

To be specific, HIMSS has separated the definition into two parts, one for users of certified EHR technologies and the other for hospitals.

Meaningful users of EHR technologies include the following:

1.)   Utilization of an EHR certified by the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology

2.)   Demonstrated ability to electronically exchange standardized patient summary data with clinical and administrative stakeholders

3.)   Demonstrated practice of electronic prescribing

4.)   Demonstrated reporting of quality and patient safety data

Meaningful use of certified EHR technology for hospitals includes the following:

1.)   A functional EHR certified by the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology

2.)   Electronic exchange of standardized patient data with clinical and administrative stakeholders using the Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel’s interoperability specifications and Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise’s frameworks

3.)   Clinical decision support that gives physicians clinical knowledge and intelligently filtered patient information to enhance patient care

4.)   Capabilities to support process and care measurement that drive improvements in patient safety, quality outcomes, and cost reductions

HIMSS recommends that in order to ensure continuity, CCHIT should be recognized as the certifying body of EHRs. Furthermore, in order to achieve incremental maturation of "meaningful use," hospitals should adopt metrics that can be reasonably captured and reported by Oct.1, 2010, and then made increasingly stringent using intervals of no less than two years.  For meaningful users, the definition must be effective Jan. 1, 2011. HIMSS’ definitions include specific metrics to enact, in phases, over a multi-year period.

To read HIMSS’ full definition for meaningful use of technology in hospitals, click here.

To view HIMSS’ definition for meaningful users of EHR technology, click here.

To access the letter that HIMSS sent to the Office of the National Coordinator and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, click here.