What does ‘meaningful use’ mean in the academic sector?

October 3rd, 2014

Dental school software can expedite the process of complying with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services' EHR Incentive Programs. In the academic sector, it can even help faculty members improve their research capabilities and solve complex oral health problems.

According to the CMS, the EHR Incentive Programs give health care providers rough guidelines for implementing the "meaningful use" of paperless technology in the workplace. For example, institutions seeking the Stage 1 qualifications must utilize EHRs for as many as 18 different objectives and procedures.

Universities with dental programs are especially well-positioned to benefit from reducing the amount of paper they use to keep records and store patient information. The need to juggle active clinics with ongoing classroom and extracurricular activities can create an organizational mess without an integrated software solution. It's much easier for administrators to utilize one program to oversee the entire university operation rather than relying on separate pieces of technology.

From a research standpoint, meaningful use of EHRs can also make dental schools more competitive in the long run. The health care technology website iHealthBeat recently reported on a study published in the Journal of Clinical Bioinformatics, Health Data Management that found the ability to access a broad range of historical data led to faster and more efficient results in a study of cardiac structure at Vanderbilt University. Educators in the dental sector can leverage similar features in their dental academic software to facilitate a more seamless research process. This not only will benefit the degree program as a whole with more opportunities to contribute to journals, but it will also provide students with a rich educational experience they can take with them into their careers. 

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