IF THERE WAS A RACE TO BE FIRST TO OFFER a laboratory information system (LIS) product that is certified to be compliant as an (EHR) electronic health record module by CCHIT, then Sunquest Information Systems, Inc., has attained that achievement.
On January 21, 2011, the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT), an ONC-ATCB, issued a certificate for Sunquest Laboratory version 6.4.2. The 2011/2012 criteria support the Stage 1 meaningful use measures required to qualify eligible providers and hospitals for funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
Under ARRA, hospitals investing in an EHR system may qualify for an initial $2 million incentive payment, with additional incentives payable based upon Medicare and Medicaid discharge rates. Physicians may qualify for more than $44,000 in incentive payments.
Meeting “Meaningful Use”
“For 2011/2012, the meaningful use criteria include mandatory items that providers must meet,” stated Kelly A. Feist, Sunquest’s Vice President, Marketing. “There is also a list of 10 items or functions, of which five must be demonstrated for providers to quality for the ARRA incentives.
“For laboratories, the particularly relevant function is criteria 170.306 (g), Reportable Laboratory Results,” she continued. “This defines as the capability for the EHR Module to electronically record, retrieve, and submit laboratory test results containing LOINC codes in HL7 v2.5.1 format to public health and other agencies.
“Chief information officers at sites using our software tell our market researchers that, in the near term, they will concentrate on meeting the Phase I criteria,” Feist explained. “However, they also want to meet the anticipated LOINC requirements in Phases II and III of meaningful use.
Future Use of LOINC
“Phase II and III criteria are anticipated to include the use of LOINC when communicating results received from reference labs. “We anticipate that hospitals and health systems will recognize the benefit of enabling the LIS to act as the enterprise LOINC Hub,” noted Feist. “This will eliminate the need to maintain test dictionaries, test menus, and LOINC translations in more than one place. It also gives hospitals and laboratories a way to add new molecular and genetic tests to the menu and to use reference labs for their business needs.”
The certificate issued by CCHIT to the Sunquest Laboratory version 6.4.2 covers compliance with 10 specific items that make up the 2011/2012 Phase One criteria. Included are: Incorporate Lab Results; Reportable Lab Results; Integrity; and two criteria for encryption.
Sunquest’s action to gain certification for its LIS product is a reminder to pathologists and lab administrators that it is important for their laboratory to actively participate in their enterprise’s strategy for meeting Phase I meaningful use criteria.