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Healthcare reform aims to clean up data quality

Richard Jones Archive
Healthcare providers are in the midst of a transition away from paper-based technology toward electronic databases that will bring them into the 21st century. To reward them for investing in and adopting electronic health records, the federal government is offering stimulus payments for eligible providers and hospitals that meet meaningful use standards.

However, deadlines are fast approaching and practitioners are rushing to demonstrate their participation through records of data entry, which can lead to poor practices.

"We don't fine-tooth-comb the data anymore, because we know what's really happening on the street," Dr. Howard Axe told American Medical News. Axe's practice recently invested in an EHR system to participate in the meaningful use program and cash in on the federal bonuses, which he said is the intended impact.

Despite Axe's belief, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently released a report that outlined a roadmap toward safer EHR use. This document focuses on three strategies - learning how to improve data quality and quantity while advancing an understanding of health IT safety, improving responses to health IT and patient safety concerns, and fostering an overarching culture that upholds precautionary methods and best practices.