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Avoiding MU Pitfalls Starts with Following Fundamentals

Christopher Cheney, for HealthLeaders Media, February 21, 2014

Building electronic health record systems that comply with the federal Meaningful Use program is a daunting task for providers large and small. But basic "regulatory compliance is a far larger day-to-day challenge" than fighting fraud, says one health system CIO.

When it comes to meeting Meaningful Use requirements, picking the right partner and setting the right policies are the best ways to avoid running afoul of the law or federal regulators, according to a pair of healthcare chief information officers.

"You're making a multimillion dollar investment," said Brian Sandager, CIO at Circle Health, the corporate parent of Lowell General Hospital in Massachusetts. "You want to select a partner who's going to be with you for a very long time."

Finding an EHR partner with longevity potential is particularly important because Meaningful Use is a three-stage process, the Circle Health CIO said. "I can't imagine health systems that are dealing with vendors that are consolidating. To be forced into change has to be an awful feeling as a CIO," he said. "Healthcare is complex enough."

While criminal fraud such as an alleged attestation scam in Texas should always be guarded against in Meaningful Use projects, Sandager said regulatory compliance is a far larger day-to-day challenge. "We're more concerned about the technicalities of the law," he said. "A lot of the rules and laws are really complex. … You have to have an open dialogue with CMS."

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