Meaningful Use

Hello everyone: For a terrific explanation of Meaningful Use and how it relates to those of us in the transcription space, take a look at Jay Vance’s latest post on AHDI Lounge. Be sure to check out AHDI Lounge at the link below for the complete post.

NLP isn’t going to be the silver bullet that solves all of our problems – but recognizing that there are ways for transcription to stay current is tremendously important.

Thanks to Jay for keeping us all informed about this important topic!

-Lynn

Why Should Medical Transcriptionists Give A Darn About “Meaningful Use”?
Posted on Saturday, July 24, 2010 comments (4)
Labels: meaningful use, medical transcription, natural language processing, NLP,speech recognition
Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. David Blumenthal, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, talks about the new “meaningful use” guidelines that hospitals and doctors must meet in order to qualify for EHR incentive money. Included in the article is a table showing the core objectives that must be met as well as the criteria used to measure whether or not the objectives have been accomplished. I’ve cropped the table graphic to highlight one particular section:

See a pattern here? While much of this information is fairly standard for a typical patient encounter, stuff we hear doctors dictate all the time, every one of these measures requires that the information be recorded “as structured data.” Those three words are about to trigger a tsunami of change throughout the health information technology and healthcare documentation sectors, and the medical transcription industry is positioned squarely in its path.

Simply put, the term “structured data” refers to information in electronic form which is broken down into discrete, searchable data elements. In the case of a typical patient encounter, that means the sections of the report would be electronically “tagged” to identify them as representing the chief complaint, history of present illness, medication list, allergies, assessment, plan, etc. Furthermore, within each of those tagged sections, data can be further categorized so that individual words and phrases can be marked as representing a specific condition, vital statistic, medication, allergy, etc. The purpose of all this electronic tagging and sorting is to allow the relevant information to be captured and stored in structured form in an individual electronic medical record (EMR). The information in those individual EMRs would then become part of a larger electronic health record (EHR) representing the medical information of every patient in the United States. By having all of this information available in a structured electronic format, health data can be aggregated, mined, researched and analyzed in a variety of ways in order to, among other things, identify best treatment practices in order to realize best outcomes. (What other uses this information might be used for, benign or or otherwise, is a topic best left for another day and another venue!)…

Be sure to check out the rest of Jay’s post on this important topic…

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