CMIO, September 16, 2011

A new study—the first study to evaluate the relationship between meaningful use for computerized medication ordering and hospital mortality rates—released online by Health Affairs, examines the potential impact on Medicare and Medicaid patients of the Stage 1 meaningful use EHR requirements. The study's authors, Spencer S. Jones, Paul Heaton and colleagues from RAND Corp., assessed the mortality rates of patients within 30 days of being hospitalized for heart attack, heart failure or pneumonia, obtained from mortality data from a September 2008 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Hospital Compare database. The authors sought to evaluate the relationship between electronic medication order entry and hospital mortality. The survey results suggest that the initial meaningful use threshold for hospitals—which require them to use electronic orders for at least 30 percent of eligible patients—is probably too low to have a significant impact on deaths from heart failure and heart attack among hospitalized Medicare beneficiaries.

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