What Defines 'Meaningful Use' For EHRs?

HIS DEFINEAn Electronic Health Record (EHR) system is an asset to your medical practice. We are living in an exciting time of transition from paper medical records to an electronic database system.  

Some confusion has followed since the passage of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act (2009), which aimed to create a nationwide electronic database for health records.

A key value in the HITECH ACT is that electronic communication is put to Meaningful Use. But what does this term mean?

  • Certifications for prescribing prescriptions electronically (e-prescriptions)
  • Using certified technology to exchange important health information with other providers
  • Using electronic resources for evaluation and quality control.

Now that you know what qualifies as Meaningful Use, how can you tell if you are getting it out of your EHR system?

Below are some tips for getting the most meaningful use out of EHRs:

  1. Use EHRs to capture data about the benefits of the e-prescriptions you've made. Collect and distribute this data.
  2. Use the health information exchange system (HIE) to engage and transition patients.
  3. Use EHRs to create lists of conditions, specific to each patient
  4. Allow patients electronic access to relevant information, such as their allergy lists or prescription information.
  5. Document all diagnoses using EHRs, and show patients how to access these online.
  6. Record your practice's demographics using the EHR system. Use this information for research and outreach.
  7. Remind patients of follow-up care using electronic communication systems.
  8. Order medication refills online using EHRs
  9. Use EHRs to manage immunization registries.
  10. Keep all diagnosis information up-to-date.


There are also some requirements under Meaningful Use that are specific to orthopaedic practitioners:

  1. Change the denominator of CPOE (computerized provider order entry).
  2. Adjust the age limits for vital signs.
  3. Switch to a “transitions of care” model of electronic record-keeping and electronic , after care is given or a referral is made.
  4. Reevaluate your mandate to inform patients about their health needs. All information must now be available online, with the option to download it, as well as transmit it electronically.

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