Siemens adds to ‘meaningful use’ conversation with roadmap, expertise

A powerful new entrant has found their way into the Health IT “meaningful use” conversation. Siemens Healthcare, a global leader in healthcare products and information technology solutions, reaffirmed their commitments yesterday to become a thought leader and further develop their health IT solutions to help clients and stakeholders understand the debate surrounding “meaningful use”. The company said they are looking for ways to shape the debate of meaningful use in Washington and help clients maximize the potential benefits of health IT under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Last month, the HIT Policy Committee approved revisions to an initial definition of “meaningful use,” setting the blueprints for electronic health records (EHRs) system implementation under the Recovery Act. The revisions have been sent to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and other groups within the Department of Health and Human Services.

Siemens has organized government and private sector resources to provide ARRA Meaningful Use roadmaps for all current and future customers, the company said Monday. The customized roadmaps will provide “line-of-sight” plans for achieving meaningful use benchmarks, along with quality reporting tools that will enable providers to “document, validate, and automatically extract data from charts to help expedite the submission of quality measures for reimbursement.”

siemens small logoKey among meaningful use’s latest developments are clarified certification requirements and expedited timelines for implementing EHRs that meet standards set by the federal government. Under the new requirements, if a hospital implements EHRs in 2012 or 2013, they will be responsible for attaining the standards of 2011 criteria. Furthermore, hospitals have a little more leeway under the new terms, mandating that only 10% of orders be entered through an authorized process of electronic, or computerized, physician order entry (CPOE)

In a recent forum held by Perot Systems, Chief Medical Officer Harry Greenspun said the new requirements, “avoid the situation of a moving target where the longer [hospitals] waited, the harder it would be to achieve [meaningful use] certification.”

Additionally, Siemens is working to ensure that gaps between customers’ current IT solutions and meaningful use requirements are addressed by enhancing the company’s existing solutions implementation methodology.

“All across our solution portfolio, we’re committed to leverage our assets and capacity to innovatively assist our customers in achieving meaningful use,” Joe Gaetano, vice president of Siemens Healthcare’s ARRA Program Office, said in a statement.

In order to help shape the conversations around health IT in Washington, Siemens also announced Monday the appointment of three employees to national health IT-related policy and standards committees.

  • Charlene Underwood, director of Government & Industry Affairs at Siemens Healthcare, joined the Meaningful Use Workgroup of the HIT Policy Committee in June.
  • Siemens Healthcare privacy officer, Don Bechtel, who was appointed in June to serve as the Clinical Operations Workgroup Liaison to the HIT Standards Panel, part of the HIT Standards Committee.
  • IT architect William Geiger now holds a seat on the Advanced Security Workgroup of the Certification Commission HIT (CCHIT) joined two other Siemens officials on commission, recognized as the certification body for EHRs.

“Siemens Healthcare fully endorses the White House’s efforts to incentivize providers’ Health IT adoption as an important component of ongoing health reform measures,” Mr. Gaetano said.