ACR Advocates Inclusion Of Imaging Data, Specialist Considerations In Meaningful Use

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imagePreliminary recommendations for Stage Two of Meaningful Use are a step in the right direction, but significant gaps in the draft advice remain, ACR IT and Informatics Committee-Government Relations Subcommittee Chair Keith J. Dreyer, DO, PhD, told advisors to the Office of the National Coordinator for HIT (ONC) in a meeting last week.

In discussing radiology considerations related to Meaningful Use, Dreyer provided an overview of ACR’s February 22 feedback in response to the HIT Policy Committee MU Workgroup’s request for comments on suggestions for the next stage of the Medicare-Medicaid EHR Incentive Program. While the workgroup has, in a short period of time, made considerable progress where developing preliminary recommendations for Stage Two of Meaningful Use is concerned, Dreyer says, the ACR believes considerable gaps exist in the draft advice “not only for specialists like radiologists”, but more importantly, “for the patients we all serve.”

ACR comments highlighted by Dreyer during the course of the meeting encompassed contentions that diagnostic images and imaging data should be accessible through electronic health records (EHR) technology; professionals should only be required to implement the technologies they actively use (for example, RIS/PACS); and computerized physician order entry by referring physicians should include clinical decision support tied to national appropriateness criteria guidelines. ACR also contends that clinically relevant Meaningful Use compliance pathways for radiologists should replace the program’s current “one-size-fits-all “ paradigm. 

“What makes sense in primary care does not always make sense in specialties with unique workflows and HIT requirements,” Dreyer contends. “For example, it would be more beneficial from a care coordination perspective if imaging professionals were asked to make scheduling options available, receive electronic orders, develop structured reports in a timely fashion, provide web-based access to images and reports, and adhere to standards of image archival, access, and display set forth by national organizations.” 

The MU Workgroup will finalize its draft recommendations within the next couple of months.  Eventually, the advice will inform staff at ONC and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as they begin the second stage of Meaningful Use rulemakings later in 2011. The agencies are free to use or not use the recommendations as they see fit.