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For Immediate Release

For more information, contact:
Gloria O'Connell, 612-863-4801

   
   

All Allina hospitals meet first stage of Meaningful Use

MINNEAPOLIS 09/29/2011--Allina Hospitals & Clinics has several million medical records in its electronic database, probably the largest in the Twin Cities.

But, it's one thing to have millions of records. It's another to be able to look for trends and use them in a way that actually improves patient care.

That's why Allina is proud to announce that all of its hospitals have met stringent Meaningful Use criteria established by the federal government.

Electronic Health Records and Meaningful Use

Under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, hospitals can qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments when they adopt certified electronic health record (EHR) technology and use it to achieve "meaningful use" objectives.

For more about EHRs and meaningful use, go to healthit.hhs.gov.

"What this means to our patients is that they're receiving better care, and we're improving their outcomes by using our EHR, Excellian, in a meaningful way," said Penny Wheeler, MD, Allina Hospitals & Clinics chief clinical officer.

It took Allina staff four months of focusing on 19 objective measures and 15 quality measures for nine hospitals to attest that they meet stage one, year one of Meaningful Use. What this means is that providers and nurses are using Allina's electronic health record (EHR) in several meaningful ways, including reviewing current medications of a patient who is seen at an Allina hospital to ensure he or she is following their care plan; consistently reviewing and recording known allergies; discussing smoking status to assist with tobacco cessation; and providing optimal stroke care, from placing orders upon patient arrival to the emergency department to ordering the procedure to offering patient education.

In August, Buffalo Hospital, Cambridge Medical Center, Owatonna Hospital, Phillips Eye Institute and St. Francis Regional Medical Center attested with the federal government. Last week, Abbott Northwestern, Mercy, United and Unity hospitals attested.

Allina's two critical access hospitals, New Ulm Medical Center and River Falls Area Hospital (Wis.), have also completed the 90-day reporting period and have met the measures. These two hospitals will attest at a later date.

The attestation demonstrates to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that these hospitals have met the first set of requirements for the Electronic Health Record Incentive Program under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. For more about the Electronic Health Record Incentive Program, visit healthit.hhs.gov

Epic, Allina's vendor for its electronic health record (EHR), incorporated the government's certified specifications and defined standard workflows that are designed to achieve Meaningful Use. Allina's investment of nearly $320 million in 2002 to implement their EHR is paying off for patients through improved care and achieving better quality outcomes.

Starting Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, 2012, Allina will begin the second stage of the Meaningful Use program, in which they will need to meet the requirements for one full year.

About Allina Hospitals & Clinics

Allina Hospitals & Clinics is a not-for-profit system of hospitals, clinics and other health care services, providing care throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Allina owns and operates 11 hospitals, more than 90 clinics and specialty care centers, and specialty medical services that provide hospice care, oxygen and home medical equipment, pharmacies, and emergency medical transportation services. Allina Hospitals & Clinics and the latest health information can be found at allina.com.

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