The list of MU criteria and what must be done to implement them are a veritable textbook of clinical informatics. They also include some additional competencies from other sub-areas of biomedical and health informatics as well.
Clearly the major competency area for MU is clinical informatics. Individuals, their organizations, and their information systems must have a thorough understanding of most of the tenets of clinical informatics. A list of what competencies are needed and why includes the following:
- Clinical data, e.g., demographics, vital signs, problem lists, medications, structured data, advance directives
- Clinical decision support - rules, drug-drug and related checks, medication reconciliation
- Computerized provider order entry
- Health information exchange
- Privacy and security
- Healthcare quality
- Organizational and project management
- Standards and interoperability - e.g., HL7, ICD-9, SNOMED, LOINC, CCR/CCD, etc.
There are more competencies that one must have across for all uses of health information technology and the even-larger field of biomedical and health informatics. Nonetheless, competency in MU is something that all people, organizations, and systems that deal with health must know about. Many must master it, not only to achieve the short-term objectives and funding of HITECH, but also to provide a patient-centered, evidence-based, and cost-effective healthcare system for the 21st century.