Meaningful Use

Basic Information

The number of US healthcare providers using electronic health records (EHRs) is increasing due to an estimated $27 billion investment made in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) of 2009.MU_Image

Under ARRA, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act authorizes the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology (ONC) to support EHR adoption and modernization through technology incentive payments and adjustments in Medicare reimbursements.

To qualify for the incentive payments and avoid reduced Medicare reimbursements, eligible healthcare professionals and hospitals must demonstrate that their EHRs can perform a range of measurable functions required for improving the quality, safety and effectiveness of care. Also known as 'meaningful use requirements', these functions include collecting and sending public health syndromic surveillance (PHSS) data for improving public and population health.

The Meaningful Use programs promise to have a profound and lasting impact on public health surveillance. As public health agencies and eligible hospitals and health professionals implement systems that address the syndromic surveillance measure, there are cost-saving and other resources available.

ISDS Meaningful Use Resources

Syndromic Surveillance Using Electronic Health Records 

Public Health Syndromic Surveillance (PHSS) is a widely adopted and rapidly evolving approach for monitoring and assessing public health.

The approach leverages information technology to systematically collect large volumes of electronic health-related data from clinical and non-clinical service providers in near "real-time" (e.g., hospital and school administrations), often on a daily or weekly basis. Epidemiologists then analyze PHSS data to monitor, assess or identify population health trends including infectious disease outbreaks, exacerbations of chronic disease conditions, and injuries.

In conjunction with other surveillance and situational information, PHSS is used by public health authorities (PHA) to guide or evaluate response measures and public health interventions.

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International Society for
Disease Surveillance