Meaningful Use Stage 1 is almost history, as the deadline for its implementation (October 1) is coming up quickly, and healthcare providers will now be moving on to Stage 2.

Providers will have to get ready to shift gears because there are a lot of changes for Stage 2.

Stage 1 focused more on the technological aspect of the electronic health record (EHR), but Stage 2 puts more of the focus on the flow of work.

The main goal of Stage 2 is to use clinical decision support (CDS) and care coordination to improve the overall quality of care by providers. The focus will be on three areas that will help providers reach the Stage 2 goal.

The first area involves new criteria for Stage 2. The only one that remains the same as Stage 1 involves advance directives for patients 65 and older. A number of the measures have moved from the menu to the core requirements. The thresholds are more stringent as well, and there are more exclusions.

Stage 2 will also require providers to do a much more intensive review of patient care through enhanced CDS and enabling greater participation by patients in their care.

The next area involves a savings in both time and money through the use of the EHR. Providers must show that, through the use of their electronic record systems, they are saving the United States healthcare system both time and money – and improving outcomes for patients.

Stage 2 is also going to require providers to map data and make changes to the EHR. This will involve looking at all the indicators for core and menu requirements, and clinical quality measures. Changes will then have to be made to modules in the EHR system. To make these changes, however, organizations also will have to install new process and workflow structures to make sure that the data is in the EHR, that it has been put there by healthcare staff, and that it can prove compliance.

In Stage 2, to receive ONC certification, organizations will have to show that their EHR system is functioning up to expectations and providing meaningful results. The requirements for certification are more broad and less flexible than for Stage 1.

Stage 2 requirements also include a number of new core and menu indicators, along with thresholds. New Stage 2 menu indicators include the number of imaging results accessible through CEHRT (greater than 40 percent), the number of records with first-degree relatives listed as structured data (greater than 20 percent), and the number of prescriptions transmitted electronically (at greater than 10 percent).

New indicators in the core area include the number of medications from order to administration tracked in eMAR (greater than 10 percent), the number of lab orders done by CPOE (greater than 30 percent), the number of radiology orders done by CPOE (greater than 30 percent), the number of transitions where summary of care included all components (greater than 65 percent), and the number of transitions transmitted electronically (greater than 10 percent).

Meaningful Use Stage 2 is more complicated. If your organization needs qualified IT professionals in healthcare IT technology, contact Morgan Hunter Healthcare. We can source and place individuals skilled in Activation Support, migrations, upgrades, project management, HCIS project and staff augmentation, and more. Contact us today!