The beginners’ guide to meaningful use

September 6th, 2013

Software for dental enterprises can have a positive impact on the quality of care patients receive. There has been a lot of talk in the dental industry lately about efficiency and the ways technology can boost quality and minimize overhead service costs. As more U.S. citizens gain access to health insurance, whether through the expansion federal programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, or through private insurers, dental institutions will need to significantly ramp up their current operations to handle an expected increase in patients.

The use of electronic health records has taken up much of the focus of this discussion of efficiency. In fact, the federal government has established various incentive programs to encourage clinics to take the plunge and switch from print records to highly flexible electronic systems. The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 set aside as much as $27 billion for organizations that incorporate some form of "meaningful use" of EHRs into their operations, according to a report published in the Journal of Dental Education. 

But what exactly constitutes "meaningful use" at a dental enterprise? According to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, meaningful use is simply the standards outlined by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for participation in their incentive programs. In other words, the federal government is encouraging dental clinics and other health care providers to incorporate EHRs in ways that deliver their true benefits. It's not enough to simply implement a new software system without understanding its impact on overall care delivery. Instead, the standards outlined through the meaningful use concept ensure enterprises experience the full benefits of EHRs.

What exactly are the benefits of EHRs?
ONC said there are three main ways the meaningful use of advanced dental software systems can boost performance: It encourages complete and accurate patient information; it increases the access to data and eliminates barriers between separate locations of a single enterprise; EHRs also empower patients through the ability to access copies of their dental records at home.

How does dental enterprise software contribute to meaningful use?
Institutions that utilize axiUm dental software not only gain access to an advanced EHR system, they also can seek consultation services from staff that have expertise in these federal programs.

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