Penn Highlands DuBois became one of the nation’s first organizations to successfully complete their Meaningful Use Stage 2 attestation under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
“I take a lot of pride in thinking PH DuBois could be the first organization in the United States to meet the Stage 2 requirements,” said Tom Johnson, chief information officer for Penn Highlands Healthcare.
Penn Highlands Healthcare’s other hospitals – PH Brookville, and PH Elk - are not far behind. Working as a team, they should complete their Stage 2 attestation by July 2014. As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Meaningful Use is a set of standards divided into three stages governing the use of electronic medical records to improve the cost, quality and safety of health care. Eligible medical providers and hospitals can earn incentive dollars by complying.
“We want incentive dollars, but what we really want is the true value to hit home with our number one priority, our patients,” said Johnson. “The patients that benefit from this technology the most are the people that live and work in my community, my family and my friends.”
PH DuBois’ commitment to making its Meaningful Use initiatives exceptionally useful is evident in its measured results. Stage 1 required 30 percent of its physician orders to be done by computer. PH DuBois was at 98 percent. PH DuBois set and attained similar goals in Stage 2 to receive the maximum value for their patients and their investment into an electronic health record system.
“Yes it is more work, but if you are doing this project you might as well do it all and get the full value of the system to benefit our physicians, clinicians, patients and the community,” said Johnson. “Our whole team worked together to accomplish this. It speaks to our commitment to give back to the community. It is the right thing for us to do,” said Kelly Grube, PH DuBois’ director of the Management Information Systems Department and project leader for the Meaningful Use Stage 2. “Having a visionary CIO who positioned us at the forefront of health care information technology as an early attester of Meaningful Use Stage 1 in 2011 was invaluable. Under his vision and my guidance as a clinician, our team was able to pull together and use their complementary skill sets to accomplish our goals.”
To help, PH DuBois partnered with Cerner, a health care solutions and services company.
“When PH DUBOIS partnered with Cerner it was evident that their journey to Meaningful Use attestation wasn’t just about meeting government regulations,” said Katie Chaffee, senior vice-president of Cerner’s consulting services said. “They wanted to improve the quality and safety of care in their community. Our two organizations are connected by the belief that there is no greater purpose than the work we are doing. Cerner is proud to be a partner with PH DuBois, grateful to help serve its community and congratulate PH DuBois on its accomplishment.”
Even with strong passion and commitment, the journey to Stage 2 was far from easy for PH DuBois. Grube said there were days it seemed impossible to complete the minimum requirements, let alone go above them. “You have to find people to exchange information with,” she said.
“Almost everyone we reached out to was not ready. We worked with the Cerner regulatory team to truly understand the requirements, what the restrictions were and what models we could use and they helped us find a way to make it happen.” Johnson said PH DuBois spent a lot of time planning and researching. While Johnson and Grube are proud of PH DuBois’ accomplishments, they continue to look forward. “Our goal has always been to have our sights on the current stage but looking to the next level, too,” said Grube.
“We are already planning for Stage 3.”
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