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The Medicare and Medicaid Incentive Programs have motivated critical access hospitals (CAH) to “adopt, implement, upgrade or demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR [Electronic Health Record] technology” (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services). Those who comply with the meaningful use objectives can receive up to $44,000 and $63,750 from Medicare EHR and Medicaid EHR Incentives, respectively.

One of the core objectives is improving the quality, safety, and efficiency of recording vital signs. The task is most often left up to the nursing staff, one of many duties these busy staff members need to juggle. So, it might not be handled in a timely manner. And the manual reading, recording, and transcribing leaves room for error.

Then, a clinician comes in to do rounds and needs to take valuable time tracking down the most up-to-date data.

While the meaningful use objectives don’t require EHR for vital signs, the regulations do dictate that the data must be recorded at bedside. That still leaves room for error, and requires additional time.

The solution for both complying with the core objective and maximizing staff productivity and data accuracy is medical device integration. An automated system for point-of-care devices is programmed to monitor vital signs, as specified, and provide the time and date stamps that comply with the Incentive Programs’ regulations. In addition, this system frees up nursing staff time, letting them attend to other critical tasks. Providers get real-time data right at the point of care—rather than chasing down the information. They can also get email or text alerts when the vital signs fall outside the prescribed parameters.

At Winola Lake Health IT, we’ve studied the meaningful use requirements of the Medicare and Medicaid Incentive Programs. We’ve found CareTrends to be the ideal solution for CAHs that seek to meet the vital signs core objective for Stage 2 with greater efficiency. This Web-based, healthcare middleware provides hospitals with an easy, accurate, and reliable system for gathering and monitoring vital signs in a more timely manner.

It starts with a CareTrends application that is compatible with any medical device and Microsoft client. Once installed on the device, vital signs are taken automatically and transmitted wirelessly over a secured network. The system matches that data against the clinician’s limits on a per-patient, per-disease, or per-hospital basis. An alert is sent to that provider when any irregularity is recorded.

Although the Incentive Programs and the core objectives are relatively new, CareTrends has been functioning in hospitals around the country for over a decade. 


Meaningful Use: Come See the NEW MDI Solution

Date: Wednesday, January 22nd

Time: 11:00AM PT / 2:00pm ET 

Click Here to RSVP!

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