In July, Tucson Medical Center attested to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, that it has met Stage 2 meaningful use requirements for implementation of its electronic medical record. As a result, the hospital expects to receive $1.9 million this year in incentive payments made available under the 2009 economic stimulus package.
While the use of electronic medical records has dramatically increased throughout the country, many hospitals are finding it difficult to meet Stage 2 requirements. At the end of July, TMC was one of 78 hospitals, out of 4,741 hospitals registered for the incentive program, which had attested to Stage 2. As of Sept. 30, only 143 hospitals had attested.
After successfully attesting, TMC was contacted by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology for a conference call to learn how the organization succeeded.
Two areas have proved especially challenging for hospitals around the country: patient electronic access, often realized through the use of a patient portal, and transitions‐of‐care measures requiring an electronic document be sent to the physician or care facility that will care for a patient after discharge.
TMC succeeded, in part, because of a team of more than 150 people from various disciplines, including executives, nursing, health information management, admitting, quality and information services.
The hospital first began investing in its electronic medical record infrastructure in 2002. Then in 2008, the TMC HealthCare Board of Trustees approved a $31 million plan to implement a fully electronic medical record, which went live in 2010. Presently, the organization is working toward connecting its internal electronic records system with other hospitals and health providers to share patient records.
This blog is one in a series as part of an Oct. 22 celebration at Tucson Medical Center for successfully attesting to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for meeting Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements of its electronic medical record. This success was a great and collaborative effort across many areas of the hospital. It represents another milestone achieved toward improved patient care and safety.