Harnessing CMS’s Meaningful Use Criteria to Transform Cancer Care with EMRs

Rosemary Frei, MSc

April 2014, Vol 5, No 3 - Oncology


Washington, DC—A new framework for transforming cancer care by harnessing the meaningful use criteria of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) was proposed by a team of researchers at the 2013 American Medical Informatics Association meeting. The team proposed a system that uses electronic medical records (EMRs) to streamline every aspect of the care continuum, from clinical trial patient recruitment to maximizing quality and minimizing cost.

“We…realized that data from EMRs can be used in a much more systematic way for cancer care,” explained Arkalgud Ramaprasad, PhD, Visiting Professor of Computer Information Systems, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL.

“Our framework can be used to explore innovative strategies that further the mission of clinical medicine. For example, EMR vendors can align with pharmaceutical companies to develop an integrated portal for patient-assistance programs. The portal would provide useful information for providers and recipients to guide them on which treatment options are available and optimal,” Dr Ramaprasad said.

He and his colleagues believe that this approach will address the current complexity of treatment, the difficulty of patient recruitment, and the need for significant patient assistance, as well as the need for patient education that will persist into the foreseeable future in cancer care.

The CMS Stages 1 and 2 meaningful use criteria focus on the implementation of tech­nology and processes for the acquisition and distribution of information by or to providers and recipients to manage healthcare efficiency, quality, safety, and disparities.

Dr Ramaprasad and Karan Srivastava, a medical student at the University of Miami, wove together the underpinnings of these criteria with all of the components of the cancer care system.

For example, the framework would include an EMR-based platform for decision support for cancer treatment prescriptions for physicians and patients, and for the education of patients about treatment adherence.

“An integrated framework like this should help manage the cost, quality, safety, and affordability of cancer care in the short and long terms,” said Dr Ramaprasad.