The Indian Health Service’s health information system was certified for Meaningful Use, which essentially means its electronic health records met the Department of Health and Human Services’ standards, earning it certification as a Complete Electronic Health Record (EHR), according to an IHS press release.
Indian Health Service (IHS), which provides health care to 2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives in 35 states, is the first federal agency to have its health information system certified for Meaningful Use. The qualification means IHS can receive reimbursement incentives through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to help improve health disparities throughout the Indian health system.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act , also known as the Recovery Act, enacted on February 17, 2009, authorizes the CMS to offer incentive payments to providers that demonstrate meaningful use or certified EHR technology. Through the Recovery Act, IHS received $85 million to modernize and extend electronic health information technology, which is currently operational at more than 280 IHS, tribal, and urban Indian health care facilities nationwide.
The electronic health records are intended to improve the quality and efficiency of care, providing secure access to health information, the ability to document patient care services, clinical decision support, performance reporting, and exchange of information with other providers of care. “These features help clinicians make better decisions and avoid preventable errors,” stated the IHS press release.
“The Indian Health Service is very proud to be the first federal agency to earn this certification, which is based on industry standards. Our certified electronic health record will help us provide quality health care delivery to patients in the Indian health system,” said IHS Director Yvette Roubideaux, M.D., M.P.H. “The monetary incentives made available by this certification will also benefit IHS, tribal, and urban Indian health facilities.”