What Happens After Meaningful Use?

Meaningful use definition specifies three types of requirements – use of EHR (Electronic health record) technology (such as electronic prescribing), electronic exchange of information and health information to improve quality care, and adequate measures and analyses to prove that quality care is being provided for patients.
The meaningful use visions and goals include that, after the implementation of meaningful use, considerable improvements in population health will be achieved through a transformed health care system. After meaningful use, the following changes in the health system will be seen:
Improved Quality, Safety, and Efficiency
Patients will no longer have to wait for long periods for an appointment with a specialist. With the availability of electronic medical records, doctors will be able to access patient histories and records from any geographical location and e-prescribe medication to the patients. Thus specialists will be able to reach out to more patients than possible before.
The digitization of EHR will require the patients to submit their medical information only once, and they need not repeat it at every clinic, thus reducing the rate of error due to omitted information. Any updates in this information will also be added to the same e-file online. The online information will also include information about different drugs, Global Health Activities multiple drug interactions and will contain reminders and alerts to prevent medication error, overdoses, prescription of wrong drug and hence fatalities due to incorrect information or carelessness. The patients will be able to interact with the doctor, knowing well that they are being treated after evaluation of their complete health records.
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Patients will be more proactive in maintaining their own health. The plethora of information accessible to them and self-management tools through online health systems will make them more aware of the various conditions and diseases, and preventive health measures will help reduce the incidence of chronic diseases.
Care Coordination between Clinics and Hospitals
The elimination of paper records takes away with it the duplication and confusion created by manual filing systems. The availability of one medical record per patient will make sure that the updated health information is available to all the medical personnel in real time. Thus right from the doctor to nurses, lab technicians, and radiologists, correct and timely information will ensure that effective treatment in the shortest possible time is delivered.
Improved Public Health and Preventive Medicine
The availability of shared records, such as a list of different types of chronic illnesses and conditions, lab reports, patient history, and the like, will enable public health authorities to compare and analyze patient records with previous years to generate a strategy for the prevention of chronic diseases, such as heart conditions, diabetes, and more. It will become possible to predict the occurrence of a certain condition based on genetic and biochemical results. Thus instead of treating certain conditions, efforts can be concentrated on preventing it before it occurs.
Privacy and Security Protection
With the advancement of technology, the EHR system has vastly improved, thus security measures can be installed so that only the authorized personnel can access the information available online.

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