ARRA, HITECH, and Meaningful Use

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA - Health Care Reform Act) included a provision for HITECH, which is the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act.
The Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program is one of many HITECH Programs created by ARRA, and it authorizes CMS to make incentive payments to eligible providers to promote the adoption and meaningful use of interoperable, certified EHR technology. The requirements of getting funding under this program beginning 10/1/2010 mean that hospitals and physicians:
  1. Must use a Certified Electronic Health Record (EHR) in a Meaningful way.
  2. Must use an EHR that can exchange information with other systems electronically.
  3. Must submit reports to CMS that include performance measures proving meaningful use.
"Meaningful Use" (MU) will occur in three stages, with Stage 1 starting in CMS FY 2011 (which began 10/1/2010). Requirements for stages 2 and 3 MU will be published in 2013 and 2015. Focus areas have been defined by CMS for each stage:
·         Stage 1: Data capture and sharing
·         Stage 2: Advanced clinical processes
·         Stage 3: Improved outcomes
Stage 1 Meaningful Use Criteria are focused on: [1]
- Electronically capturing information in a structured format
- Using that information to track key clinical conditions
- Communicating that information for care coordination
- Implementing clinical decision support tools to facilitate disease and medication management
- Using EHRs to engage patients and families, and
- Reporting clinical quality measures and public health information.
Mobility plays a significant role in achieving these objectives.
[1] Patrick, P., Martin, W., (2010). Privacy and Security Implications of Meaningful Use for Health Care Providers. A Whitepaper by the NCHICA Meaningful Use Work Group. October 2010. Last accessed online at: