Enterprise Content Management and Meaningful Use
As of last week, OnBase officially earned meaningful use certification as an “EHR Module” from the Drummond Group in both acute and ambulatory settings. I have mixed feelings about the meaningful use initiative and its ultimate impact on the quality of patient care. That said, I think that our certification says a lot about the state of ECM in healthcare and what it means to your organization.
The reality for many of you is that you probably have already deployed (or plan to deploy) a certified EHR (or EMR, but don’t get me started on the frequently disregarded distinction). On top of this, you’re more than likely using it in a manner that meets the stage one criteria. Do you really need to worry about yet another HIT application?
Technically, no, you probably don’t. But maybe that’s not the point.
Looking back on the process to establish meaningful use criteria, confusion reigned. As requirements and timelines were proposed, modified, rejected, reworked, debated, clarified, obscured and finally published, technology vendors and healthcare providers alike worried about the final outcome and its ultimate impact. What applications needed to be certified? What are the penalties? Do we have the budget? Among our current HIT application environment, what needs to be upgraded? Replaced? What if our physicians openly rebel? Ah, memories…
Here’s what our certification gets you: you have the assurance that OnBase can only enhance any of your plans with respect to meaningful use. If you’re currently compliant, implementing an OnBase ECM solution won’t change that. Not one tiny bit. That counts for something.
Also, when a vendor earns meaningful use certification, you have fairly concrete evidence of that vendor’s commitment to healthcare. Otherwise, why go to the trouble? For companies exclusively dedicated to healthcare, pursuing meaningful certification is a no-brainer. But it’s easy to see why companies that offer technology used in various markets might skip it altogether.
Finally, you have validation that ECM is a legitimate part of the HIT landscape. No, I’m not delusional. I fully realize that the EMR trumps every other application in scope, expense and impact. ECM, however, deserves a place at its side. Taking content normally outside your EMR and making it accessible within it – that’s a core value of ECM. Ultimately, that helps your EMR, your HIT crown jewel, become more complete, more effective and more useful.
And on a technical and financial level, that’s where true meaning lies.