Information Technology breakthroughs paved way for wide use of Information management systems in the healthcare sector, transforming the healthcare system for improved patient care and cost reduction. However, the increase in patient’s vital information being collected and stored in hospitals and other healthcare establishments, turned as a prime target for cyber criminals causing hospitals to face increasing data breaches, despite stringent security regulations.
Medical records being shared electronically brought in increased need to ensure data control. Even though the HIPAA Act was enacted, the HITECH Act was further designed to enforce HIPAA regulations and provide tools to standardize the interchange of electronic data and accelerate security and confidentiality of electronic health information. Furthermore, to ensure that the health care providers and their business associates deploy comprehensive electronic health Records (EHR) by 2015 and be compliant to HIPAA, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) designated $20.2 billion for IT healthcare through the HITECH Act for enterprises, facilitating the “meaningful use” of “certified” electronic medical records.
Government also instituted the “meaningful use” EHR Incentive Program (MU) to ensure more and more health care organizations and providers make use of EHR. With “Meaningful use” describing the benefits of health information technology for improvements in healthcare and secure information exchange among health care professionals, it was necessary for Health Care Organizations and providers to meet the MU criteria every year to receive the incentive. Also every provider who receives an electronic health record (EHR) incentive payment is subject to audits. And according to HITECH Act, healthcare enterprises who have failed to achieve “meaningful use” standard by 2015 would be penalized.
The health care providers should therefore take proactive steps to avoid a Meaningful Use audit, or armed to successfully defend one’s attestations. Experts list out various steps to prepare for a possible audit:
- Make collection, storing and documentation an ongoing process
- Store the Meaningful Use documentation in a central location with a proper backup
- Assign Meaningful Use to a team for continuous monitoring and reviewing of the progress
- Look for new developments in the Meaningful Use audit process
- Maintain a minimum of six years documents past attestation
- Try to avoid and eliminate the red flags that might increase the likelihood of an audit
- Check patient mix before attesting to Medicaid Meaningful Use
- have a Meaningful Use audit committee in place
- Ensure that even the staff identifies and understands Meaningful Use audit letter
Nevertheless, use of Aegify greatly simplifies the method of achieving ‘Meaningful Use’. This cloud based solution is not only easy to use but is also powerful and provides healthcare professionals necessary expertise to assess, analyze, mitigate any risks and be HIPAA and HITECH compliant. Moreover, it also helps doctors and providers to demonstrate meaningful use and helps them secure the federal grants and reimbursements ranging from $44,000 up to $2 Million as per the MU EHR incentive program.
Aegify SecureGRC compliance management has built-in tools for assessment of meaningful use and produces a ready-to-use report for applying for the grant. With a detailed list of risk parameters and controls, Aegify meaningful use reports addresses the requirements of meaningful use across various measures, making it easy for eligible hospitals and providers to apply for grants and meeting the meaningful use objectives.