Meaningful Use

This entry is part 6 of 43 in the series Words

 

Nancy Pelosi holding the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

Nancy Pelosi holding the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

Meaningful Use has become a less-meaningful phrase in the USA over the past year or so, at least to those of us who work in the ED. Intentionally or no, politicians twist and deform the English language like no others. Their latest target, at least as far as Emergency Department computer systems are concerned, is the phrase: meaningful use.

In this post, I will grossly oversimplify to help provide a basic understanding of what meaning ful use now seems to mean and why you should care. As Bacon observed: we are more likely to reach the truth through error than through confusion.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) contains a vast wealth of provisions to reinvigorate the US economy (no pun intended). Of interest to readers of this site is that the ARRA says that, if you show new meaningful use of electronic medical records, then you can get money from the Federal government. However, this meaningful use only applies to office-based physicians and hospitals, so emergency physicians and Emergency Departments, by themselves, can’t get any money. However, in order for hospitals to get the money, the ED and the emergency physicians have to cooperate – which means you have some power over the administration. (Not too much, though – if you’re too uncooperative they can fire you or terminate your contract. Don’t laugh. It has happened.) Read the rest of this entry
»

Share

Efficiency

This entry is part 7 of 43 in the series Words

It is said, usually by vendors, that installing an EDIS (Emergency Department Information System) will negatively impact ED efficiency for a short time, and then efficiency will increase to levels higher than before, thus:

Effect of ED Information System on ED Efficiency: Vendors

Effect of ED Information System on ED Efficiency: Vendors

But ED Information Technology pundit Dr. Todd Taylor (emergency physician, past Speaker of the national Council of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and now executive with Microsoft) says that the graph should really be more like this:

Effect of ED Information System on ED Efficiency: Todd Taylor

Effect of ED Information System on ED Efficiency: Todd Taylor

Who is right?

Read the rest of this entry
»

Share

Anticryptography

This entry is part 8 of 43 in the series Words

We all know what cryptography is:

cryp·tog·ra·phy, n.
1.    the science or study of the techniques of secret writing, esp. code and cipher systems, methods, and the like. Cf. cryptanalysis (def. 2).
2.    the procedures, processes, methods, etc., of making and using secret writing, as codes or ciphers.
3.    anything written in a secret code, cipher, or the like.
[1635–45; CRYPTO- + -GRAPHY]

But do you know what anticryptography is?

In its most glamorous guise, it is the art and science of designing easy-to-understand messages to send into space for alien civilizations to read. More mundanely, it is the art and science of designing messages, usually visual, that may be easily interpreted by those of widely-varying language and culture.

Graphic designers have been practicing anticryptography for a long time, designing easy-to-understand signs. The idea of standard signs, with similar shapes and forms, appears multiple times – most recently and obviously in the icons developed for the Olympics, and in the set of 50 standard transportation-oriented signs developed by AIGA.

Read the rest of this entry
»

Share

Color

This entry is part 9 of 43 in the series Words

Claude Boutet's 7-color and 12-color color circles, 1708

 

Prism and Spectrum

Prism and Spectrum

When designing a computer screen, we have to keep in mind one of the defining elements of the computer monitor: its ability to display many colors.

Having desktop publishing software does not mean we know how to design a magazine, and just because we have color monitors does not automatically mean that we know how to use color. Indeed, just as with the rules for good typography, expressed most lucidly in Bob Bringhurst’s The Elements of Typographic Style, there are rules for color.

Bad Design

Bad Design

Read the rest of this entry
»

Share

RHIO

This entry is part 10 of 43 in the series Words

At a recent meeting, one of my partners noted how good for patients and emergency physicians it would be if we could access medical records from the rival hospital system in town. It certainly would, but given the controversies between the big players (one giant system that includes hospitals, physicians and a major regional medical insurance provider, a secondary but still-big hospital-physician system, and a regional Blue Shield insurance company) I’m not going to hold my breath.

Electronic Health Record Diagram

Electronic Health Record Diagram

Part of the ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) was to provide funding to develop electronic medical record (EMR) systems nationwide. Some of this money went to providers. Not emergency physicians, thankfully – if we were eligible for these dollars, we would all be individually responsible for developing and maintaining our own medical records systems, as opposed to using the hospital’s medical record system. Other money goes to hospitals that demonstrate meaningful use of EMR systems. Read the rest of this entry
»

Share