eHealth Global Technologies (eHGT) Supports the Imaging Criteria Proposed for Stage 2 of Meaningful Use and Suggests Furthering the Criteria to Incentivize Better Patient Care

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The proposed 10% threshold for sharing imaging exams outside of a provider is key to the reduction of unnecessary duplicate imaging and patient radiation exposure.

We urge our colleagues in the industry to comment back to the ONC to recommend the image sharing criteria include the ability to share images outside of a provider.

The newly announced proposed Meaningful Use Stage 2 criteria include the accessibility of medical images within Certified Electronic Health Record Technology (CEHRT) as one of the menu options required for both Eligible Professionals (EP) and Eligible Hospitals (EH) and Critical Access Hospitals. The rule proposes that 40% of exams ordered by an Eligible Hospital or an Eligible Professional be shared within that provider’s CEHRT. While eHGT strongly supports the inclusion of imaging in the Stage 2 criteria, the company believes the 10% threshold suggested by the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for sharing images outside of a provider should also be adopted to more effectively drive the reduction of unnecessary duplicate exams and patient radiation exposure needed in this country. eHGT proposes to the ONC that the 10% threshold be instituted as a image sharing criterion for Eligible Hospitals, at a minimum, and optimally for any EH or EP that has the ability to create medical imaging exams.

Dr. James Killeen, associate professor of medicine at University of California San Diego Health Sciences stated: “As an Emergency Physician and Chief Architect for the San Diego Community Collaborative, we see the recognition of image sharing for meaningful use not only as the right the thing to do, but also recognizing this as a patient safety issue by decreasing unnecessary radiology imaging and radiation exposure across disparate systems.”

The ability for an Eligible Hospital to meet the proposed menu criteria by simply taking images that are already available within the enterprise, and “linking” them to their own EHR is an incremental improvement, at best. Eligible Professionals that do not have an imaging system within their facility may have difficulty meeting the 40% requirement of including exams they order in their EHR, when there is nothing compelling their outside imaging service providers to share those images externally. If image sharing outside the providers is made part of the Eligible Hospital criteria, eHGT contends that this will provide a greater assurance that EP’s will be able to capture these images within their EHR. Encouraging external image sharing at the 10% threshold also is consistent with the 10% sharing threshold proposed for Stage 2 for electronically sharing clinical summaries.

HIEs are now starting to include the access to images as part of the services they provide, which is an efficient and cost effective way to enable external image sharing for their subscribers. Having external image sharing as a component of the Stage 2 criteria will further this trend, and participating providers in an HIE Image Sharing service will lead to almost 100% of their imaging exams being available to the clinicians that need them in the region supported by the HIE, greatly enhancing care coordination.

"The Rochester (NY) Regional Health Information Organization (RRHIO) has implemented image sharing from its participating providers since early 2009. This capability has enabled clinicians around the community to view diagnostic quality images from outside their organization at the point of care, resulting in many benefits, even life-saving ones. RRHIO determined early on that sharing clinical information along with the actual images within the HIE would provide the most benefit to the community, and this capability has received wide support, with 11 providers sharing their images throughout the 11-county region. Including a 10% threshold for sharing images outside of a provider is reasonable at this stage as an optional meaningful use menu set, and will promote the implementation of this type of functionality where it can be provided easily and cost effectively," stated Ted Kremer, executive director of the Rochester RHIO.

“Clearly, the importance of image sharing outside a provider is key to improving coordination of care, a core precept of Meaningful Use. We urge our colleagues in the industry to comment back to the ONC to recommend the image sharing criteria include the ability to share images outside of a provider,” stated Ken Rosenfeld, president and chief technology officer of eHealth Global Technologies.

About eHealth Global Technologies, Inc. (eHGT)
eHGT is the leading medical record retrieval and diagnostic image exchange service provider, serving 50% of the nation's top 100 hospitals and leading health information exchanges (HIEs), including 13 of the top 17 hospitals selected to the prominent Honor Roll of the Best Hospitals from the 2011-2012 U.S. News & World Report. The company's services include eHealth Access™ Record Retrieval Service and eHealth Connect® Diagnostic Image Exchange. Our services utilize innovative health information technology to access medical records and diagnostic images in any format, and then securely deliver them to providers and clinicians in a digital format to improve continuity of care. For more information about eHealth Connect Diagnostic Image Exchange, click here. Web: http://www.eHGT.com

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Deanna Peters
eHGT
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