Posted By Monique Dever On December 8, 2014
To receive EHR incentive benefits, providers must attest that they are meaningfully using a certified Electronic Health Records (EHR) system and meeting the Meaningful Use (MU) objectives. But the rules of Meaningful Use are complex and are confusing to an audience that is not necessarily tech savvy. Given that adoption of an EHR is a federal mandate, one needs to find partners who will help you understand requirements and navigate the complexity of achieving meaningful use. If you do not yet have an EHR, time is running out and so you’ll need to start now.
As Stage 3 meaningful use is being finalized, we all had an opportunity to impact requirements. The American Medical Association (AMA) in a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), the AMA “strongly” recommended ONC to:
- Adopt a more flexible approach for meeting MU
- Expand hardship exemptions for all MU stages
- Improve quality reporting
- Address physician EHR usability challenges
“The whole point of the EHR incentive program was to build an interoperable health information technology infrastructure that would allow for the routine exchange of important medical information across settings and providers and put medical decision-making tools in the hands of physicians and patients” said Dr. Robert M. Wah, President of the American Medical Association.
Since 2011, the CMS has now paid $23.7 billion for EHR adoption incentives. The meaningful use EHR requires providers to electronically manage medication prescriptions, connect and order lab tests, communicate with patients, and other electronically delivered activities. Meaningful use also focuses on exchanging patient information electronically via Health Information Exchange (HIE). To improve public health, connection to immunization registries and syndrome surveillance systems is required by all providers. With meaningful use stage 3, we expect more seamless exchange of data and interoperability with other community providers.
Providing your input in defining meaningful use stage 3 is important and will hopefully result in useful, achievable requirements. Read the full AMA letter here and keep an eye out for what’s next in Meaningful Use Stage 3.