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"We encourage facilities to explore how the use of certified health IT can support their efforts to electronically develop and share standardized discharge summaries," CMS writes in its proposed rule.

[See also: Nursing homes get help with HIE.] Some post-acute care insiders view the new requirement as an opening to ask for help on the digital front.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) has funded several major initiatives to harmonize standards and create a certification process for EMRs so that different products can interoperate better and be easily and objectively compared. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recognized initial criteria for certification of ambulatory EHR systems as recommended by the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT).

Definition EHR = EMR HIS CIS CPR (Electronic Health Record = Electronic Medical Record Health Information System Clinical Information System Computerized Patient Record).EHRs are supposed to make things easier for doctors and consumers, who would have access to their own medical information.Digitizing records would allow doctors to exchange information about patients they share, which would improve quality and avoid duplication of tests and procedures.Government regulators are backing down from many of their toughest requirements for controversial digital medical records, just as Congress is stepping up its oversight of issues with the costly technology. Government regulators are backing down from many of their toughest requirements for doctors' and hospitals' use of digital medical records, just as Congress is stepping up its oversight of issues with the costly technology.Bullitt County (Ky.) Medical Center medical assistant Shannon Britenfield, left, physician Praveen Arla and assistant intern Dominique Rhynes enter patient data into the EHR system at the Hillview, Ky. Doctors and hospitals need electronic health records (EHRs) to meet quality provisions of Obamacare.Traditionally, the EMR vendor community has created systems that conform only to proprietary database formats, making it difficult for them to send and receive data from other, potentially competing products.

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