Maximizing Benefit from Meaningful Use: St. Mark's Medical Center

St. Mark's Medical Center, a 65-bed hospital in LaGrange, Texas, attested to meaningful use stage 1 in 2011 and is on track to meet stage 2 this year, according to a Community Hospital Corp. whitepaper.

CHC has been able to help and guide the hospital through the rigorous attestation process. It worked with the hospital's executives, clinicians and IT staff to set timelines and develop workflow processes to ensure EHR use continued to rise. Also, CHC performed a mock meaningful use audit to make sure the hospital would be ready for a real audit if one came. If an audit came and St. Mark's failed, it would lose its incentive payments or worse. "We cannot afford to have that money taken away," Patti Sulak, IT director at the hospital, said in the whitepaper. "CHC provided us with an audit summary including guidance as to any caps and vulnerabilities we needed to address."

While the hospital is on track to receive about $3 million in incentive payments, the benefits of meaningful use extend beyond the money. For example, medication errors have decreased and "ground-level improvements already have been made just by standardizing and centralizing data points," a clinical analyst at St. Mark's said in the whitepaper.

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