South Carolina hospital on track to meet MU guidelines, implement HIE

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Healthcare IT professionals at Beaufort Memorial Hospital in South Carolina are making progress towards not only attesting to stage one of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) meaningful use federal financial incentive program, but also implementing a health information exchange (HIE), according to Healthcare IT News.

By working towards achieving stage one of the meaningful use program, Beaufort Memorial will also be able to launch an HIE that will, in turn, enable the hospital to qualify for stages two and three of the CMS’ financial incentive initiatives.

“A lot of clinicians absolutely believe that the more good information they have – it has to be information they rely on and trust – when they’re trying to make clinical decisions, the better decisions they can make,” Ed Ricks, vice president of information systems and chief information officer of Beaufort Memorial, told the news source.

Despite making progress towards several healthcare IT objectives, officials at Beaufort Memorial still face significant challenges, especially with regards to their plans to join an HIE. According to the news source, the hospital is actively participating in the South Carolina HIE project (SCHIE), which despite being a statewide initiative, has seen little involvement from other similarly sized healthcare facilities across the state.

The deadline to apply for federal funding for the SCHIE is still 24 months away, giving Ricks and his team time to assess the validity of the business side of participating in the project, and allowing Beaufort Memorial and other healthcare facilities time to ensure that state objectives for inclusion in the project can be met.

Beaufort Memorial is an example of how strategically meeting meaningful use guidelines can be achieved by implementing an HIE. According to Information Week, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives recently published a guide for hospitals and healthcare IT professionals to ensure that projects such as the ones being undertaken by Beaufort Memorial can be achieved by other healthcare facilities.