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Indian Health Service Electronic Health Records System Certified for Meaningful Use

The Indian Health Service (IHS) has become the first federal agency to have its health information system certified for what is called Meaningful Use. The IHS Resource and Patient Management System (RPMS) recently successfully passed all tests required for certification as a Complete Electronic Health Record (EHR) for ambulatory and inpatient settings, based on criteria established by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The IHS RPMS is a comprehensive health information system that supports the patient care and public health mission of IHS. The IHS provides health care to a service population of 2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives who reside in 35 states. The RPMS EHR is operational at over 280 IHS, tribal, and urban Indian health care facilities nationwide.

The goal of meaningful use of EHRs is to improve the safety, quality, and efficiency of care. EHRs could achieve significant improvements in health care processes and outcomes through the use of software applications that provide secure access to health information for both patients and providers, the ability to document patient care services, clinical decision support, performance reporting, and exchange of information with other providers of care. These features help clinicians make better decisions and avoid preventable errors.

Under the provisions of the Recovery Act, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is authorized to offer incentive payments, beginning in 2011, to hospitals and eligible providers demonstrating meaningful use of certified EHR technology. These incentives could provide valuable additional resources to improve health disparities throughout the Indian health system.

“The Indian Health Service is very proud to be the first federal agency to earn this certification, which is based on industry standards. Our certified electronic health record will help us provide quality health care delivery to patients in the Indian health system,” said IHS Director Yvette Roubideaux, M.D., M.P.H. “The monetary incentives made available by this certification will also benefit IHS, tribal, and urban Indian health facilities.”

This certification demonstrates that the IHS remains at the forefront of health information technology, and that its tribal partners and patients can be confident that their providers are using the best technology available.

NOTICE TO EDITORS: For additional information on this subject, please contact the IHS public affairs office at 301-443-3593. Additional information about the IHS is available on the IHS website at