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Meaningful use was designed through standards governing the manner in which health care records are utilized by health care professionals. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) define meaningful use as a sequence of policies for electronic health records (EHRs), including but not limited to safety, efficiency, advanced organization between health care providers, safeguarded privacy and security of personal information, and patient self-engagement concerning their health (LeGate, 2013).
Those that choose to utilize EHR can receive incentive payments by satisfying the following three stages (LeGate, 2013):
Beginning in 2010, this stage of meaningful use focuses on data sharing. Health care professionals are required to engage in collecting and retaining information electronically within a standardized concept which, in turn, will provide easy access to other health care professionals and patients. Tracking, coordination of treatment and clinical conditions can also be tracked and monitored through standards of stage one meaningful use.
In 2014, meaningful use was expanded through EHR software which provided integration of e-prescribing and laboratory result access. Stage two provided patients with access to their own medical records and diagnostic results, encouraging them to become more involved in their health care.
Stage three began in 2016 and was released and recommended by The Health Information Technology Advisory Committee (HITAC) for eligible health care professionals and organizations. Stage three emphasizes the improvement of the quality of health care information leading to enhanced health and care for recipients on a greater scale. Reduction of chronic diseases experienced by the public can be seen with successful implementation of stage three strategies.
Accurate provisions of health care information are vital to the improvement of our health care industry and continuous quality improvement of health care efforts. The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act initiated efforts to completely automate access of health care records across the United States the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) has stated that provided funding of 30 billion-dollars for Health Information Technology (HIT) will enhance its adoption (Lenert, 2012).
Expansion and growth of HIT is continuous and will create serious challenges on national, state, and local levels. Expansion of HIT capabilities will necessitate an ever-growing amount of federal and state funding to meet these needs (Lenert, 2012).