Meaningful Use for Nurses

Meaningful Use for Nurses



Meaningful Use for Nurses

The healthcare system has been marred with several human errors that have led to the blame game within the system. Efforts have been made to achieve a culture of safety that protects patients from harm that has been caused by the care givers. Attempts such as patient centered care have been developed to the global goal of safety in health care. As such, exhaustive research of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) 2009 guaranteed that no high-quality health care will be realized without proper documentation of health records of patients (Chesnay & Anderson, 2012). Together with other institution of health care such as Health and Human Services attempts have been put to realize the goal of safety culture in health care is achieved. Therefore, by July 2010, these organizations issued Meaningful Use that is mandated to improve safety, quality, coordination, efficiency as well as engaging families and patients in electronic communication and recording of patients’ status. Therefore, the implementation of Electronic Health Recording (ERH) is one of the core factors of realizing the safety of individuals. A presentation of this paper gives an overview of Meaningful Use through HER and the implication it has on the health care system. The paper also identifies some of the recommendations for its full implementation.

Technology is the core factor that keeps individuals connected irrespective of where they are; hence, its usage in health care system becomes very important. Transferring health records and communication between the medical officers has been done using fax, emails, and phones (Chesnay & Anderson, 2012). However, through technology and serious concern of safety health care, there has been an attempt to use the electronic health records that is believed to be very efficient hence will reduce the occasional errors in health care system. The meaningful use is the set of standard that is developed by the center for Medicare and Medicaid services (CMC) which is mandated on paying providers who  have achieved set criteria that are related to the meaningful use of technology to improve safety culture that finally improve patient care. ARRA act of 2009 signed this act into law that included funding the health information technology with $17 billion to physicians who have already adopted the use of EHRs (Chesnay & Anderson, 2012). The issue of funding this program aims at motivating institutions that have already employed the use of EHRs and encourage those who have not used the program.

The use of electronic health recording was aimed at achieving five goals according to health information technology and ARRA. First, it aimed at improving the quality, efficiency and safety of care as well as reducing the preventable disparities. Secondly, to engage both the patients and families in the process of health care. Third, is to facilitate and promote population and public health and improve the outcomes within the institution (Narcisse et. al., 2013). Additionally, it aimed at improving the coordination of medical officers and nurses within the health care. Lastly, this program is to promote the security and privacy of electronic health records since it is more secure than the old methods.

The meaningful use criteria were set to evolve over the next five years in three stages. The first stage is known as the data capture and sharing stage. It involves: capturing health information electronically and in a standardized method; using the information captured to track the key clinical conditions; communicating the found information for coordination processes; initiating clinical quality measures and health information; and using that information to engage the family and the patients in their care. The second stage, which was set to start in 2014, is known as advanced clinical process, which deals with health information exchange and increased need for e- prescribing and incorporation of lab results. The stage also deals with electronic transmission of summaries across several settings and more patient data. The final stage of the program, which is set to begin on 2016, is known as improved outcomes. Its main objective is to improve quality, efficiency, and safety that lead to improved outcomes.

From doctors to patients and everyone in between, the meaningful use will be of importance to change the way individuals’ documents materials. In order to meet the criteria developed by the CMS serious documentation is needed for everybody involved in patient care. The implication of meaningful use includes:

 Impact of meaningful use on patient outcome will be very positive. The patients will have access to their health information through enhanced collaboration and engagement with their providers. This will also make the patient receive electronic reminders on follow up care of their health information. At the end, the patients experience the positive changes on how they interact with the system. According to CMS, about 190 million prescriptions have been done by electronic prescribing eRx, and 13 million patients receive reminders through electronic reminders (Halimi & Bassi, 2012).

Meaningful use are focused on helping nurses and doctors to make informed decisions, deliver good care, and create great efficiencies. These tools have prevented duplicative tasting, elimination, drug reactions, and have enhanced provider collaboration. Therefore through the use of the meaningful use the nurses and doctors have performed extremely well with minimal errors. For example in clinical lab results, about 458 million were entered into the system by 111,954 Eps and about 4.3 million transitions of care summaries were seen(Narcisse et. al., 2013). Because many lab results were entered into EHRs, millions of reconciliations were done, and millions of transitions of care sums were created, providers across the countries were also able to access much of the information about their patients, enabling them to give the right care at the correct time.  

For national agency and public health, Stage 1 meaningful use menu objectives have encouraged providers to send several data to public agencies and numerous immunization registries. Stage 2 is believed continue to motivate the transmission of data to public health agencies and registries to inform care policy decisions making, drive perfect practices, and motivate the nation’s public health care. According to CMC Immunization registries received as a minimum of one test data compliance from 69,474 EPs. This information is transferred to the national health agency which can be used to manufacture some vaccines and know the trend of some diseases such as polio. Additionally, Syndromic Surveillance Data Submission also received a minimum of one test data compliance from 12,298 EPs (Halimi & Bassi, 2012). This shows that the system improves the care of patient even in places that they are not present hence their effects is really shaping the health care system from a blame system to a safety culture system.

For nursing, the system will help to make the public and patients believe that the nursing system and the entire health care system have improved by nurturing the safety culture. As such, that lost trust of continuous error will be regained. Thus, the entire health population will have the faith to believe that nursing sector is no longer a home to harm patients rather a place that foster the life of the sick. Halimi and Bassi (2012) note that when the trust is built, the entire population will believe on the nursing system.

One of the recommendations is that there should be a delay of stage two so that stage one is implemented fully. According to American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) the members cannot be able to handle the key factors that are needed for complying with stage two of the program by given deadline as at now. The factors include implementation, product services, training, and support. Therefore, it is important for the ARRA to extent the time frame of the initiation of the second stage so that the first stage is implemented fully using the required key components.

To implement this program fully until the final stage, there should be ease of meaningful requirements. Narcisse et al. (2013) say that the requirement of the system is over burdensome.  He suggests that the possible way to move the program forward is to ensure that all providers are not left behind; especially, the small ones and the rural ones should participate too. The American hospital association suggested that the providers to meet the stage one by using 2011-certified or the 2014-certified, establishing a reporting period of 90-day in the first year of new stage for all providers, offering flexibility of the implementation for all providers, and extend each stage by at least 3 years since the program is not an easy one to employ.

The associations and ARRA should reconsider the penalties imposed on the physician when they happen to fail to perform their duties of implementing the program. Physicians are already having difficulties meeting the core and noncompulsory meaningful use measures in stage 1. Therefore, they will experience much difficulties in the proceeding phases especially the third phase of this program. According to organized medicine groups associations, the proposal would closely double the number of actions that the practices must meet for eligible patient happenstance to prevent Medicare penalties (Halimi & Bassi, 2012). Any failure even to meet one of the measures by about 1% would make physicians ineligible for enticements and experience the similar financial penalties at the penalty phase as the physicians who had not made any effort to practice EHRs.

Following the discussion herein, the push towards a safety culture in health care system has been the goal for the institution. Following research by various health care organizations, it was found that patient history recording and other documentation are vital factors to ensuring a healthy culture and safety in the health care. Therefore, the center for Medicare and Medicaid services (CMC) proposed use of EHRs to record information of the patients. The main aim of this program is to improve quality, efficiency, and safety that lead to improved outcomes. The program has three stages that were started in the year 2012 and are set to end in the year 2016. This system has impacted the outcome of patient by making the patient part of the care making them engage and contribute about their condition. It has also made the nurses and the providers to have informed decision-making since the system is accurate. Having known that the nurses are performing relatively well, the public have also gained a lot of trust on the nursing institution as a whole. The public and health care agencies have also received the information and the data have been used for immunization. However, there are some recommendations that should be looked at for proper implementation of the program. There should be low penalties on physicians who have not cooperated, the requirements too should be relatively easy, and there should be extension period before the second stage starts.


Chesnay, M., & Anderson, B. A. (2012). Caring for the vulnerable: perspectives in nursing theory, practice, and research (3rd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Halimi, M., & Bassi, S. (2012). What does “meaningful use” mean for perioperative nurses?. OR Nurse, 6(4), 8-11.

Narcisse, M., Kippenbrock, T. A., Odell, E., & Buron, B. (2013). Advanced Practice Nurses’ Meaningful use of electronic health records. Applied Nursing Research, 26(3), 127-132.

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