Case Management

Mentor moment: What meaningful use means to case management: Stage 1

Case Management Weekly, February 24, 2010

The following article is adapted from HCPro’s resource for hospital case managers—www.CaseManagementMentor.com—a free blog dedicated to connecting hospital case managers to industry pacesetters, peers, and best practices.

By Barbara Aubry, RN, CPC, CHCQM, FAIHQ

Let’s take a closer look at the proposed Stage 1 criteria for meaningful use and what it could mean for case managers. The following comes from the Health Information Technology: Initial Set of Standards, Implementation Specifications and Certification Criteria for Electronic Health Record Technology, 45CFR Part 170

Stage 1, scheduled to take effect in 2011:

“focuses on electronically capturing health information in a coded format; using that information to track key clinical conditions and communicating that information for care coordination purposes (whether that information is structured or unstructured, but in structured format whenever feasible); consistent with other provisions of Medicare and Medicaid law, implementing clinical decision support tools to facilitate disease and medication management; and reporting clinical quality measures and public health information.”

Wow! It seems that CMS wants to capture much data that might not be readily available in current patient medical records. If we carefully read the paragraph again, the meaningful use requirements are actually good for case managers.

Consider how much time you currently spend trying to assemble information about any patient. How many notes do you leave for physicians? How often do you need additional patient information to complete a report for a third-party payer or to begin a discharge or transfer plan?

Theoretically, case management tasks would be easier if the electronic health records (EHR) contained the documentation that is required for care coordination. If we had access to a medical record that could easily capture patient history including diagnoses, treatment, response to intervention, admissions, discharge measures, and domicile status, it would help us work better and faster.

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