Hospitals and other medical facilities have been educated on Meaningful Use and how that relates to the implementation of electronic healthcare records in their facility. Stage 2 of the Meaningful Use program is slated to begin in 2014. Stage 2’s final regulations, that were recently published, are emphasizing interoperability, the ability of providers to share information across different networks and platforms.

Stage 1 was the first step in moving toward a national network of electronic health records that can be accessed from anywhere. These EHRs are intended to improve patient safety, efficiency of care and quality of care by incorporating patient data electronically. Stage 2 is intended to build on this and to focus on the sharing of data to improve EHR systems.

Stage 1’s Progress

Nearly all of Stage 1’s core and menu objectives that were proposed are being finalized for Stage 2. Stage 1 involved several tests to reveal specific objectives for Stage 2. The “exchange of key clinical information” core objective from Stage 1 was eliminated in favor of a more robust “transitions of care” core objective in Stage 2. In addition, the “provide patients with an electronic copy of their health information” objective was also eliminated, it was replaced by the “electronic/online access” core objective.

The final test that was conducted added “outpatient lab reporting” to the requirements for hospitals and “recording clinical notes” as a menu objective for both eligible professionals (EPs) and hospitals. There will be 20 measures for EPs (17 core, and three menu) and 19 measures for eligible hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) (16 core and three menu).

Requirements for Facilities

The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which authorized the $27 billion Meaningful Use program, requires providers to use certified EHRs in order to earn bonus payments from Medicare, Medicaid or both for Meaningful Use. To do this, they must meet specific requirements.

Depending upon the type of provider, requirements differ. For example, physicians, chiropractors, dentists, physical therapists, and other individual providers have to meet 17 core measures for EHR usage, while also choosing three additional measures from a menu of six. Larger facilities, such as hospitals, must achieve 16 core measures plus three of six additional menu options.

Meaningful Use Next Stages

A third and final stage of Meaningful Use is scheduled to begin in 2016. To date, CMS has paid out $6.6 billion in incentive money to about 3,600 hospitals and more than 128,000 individuals for the program.

Are you ready for Meaningful Use Stage 2? Morgan Hunter Healthcare can help. We can source and place IT professionals who specialize in EHR for consulting, assessments, migrations, implementations, or upgrades. Contact us today!