Meaningful Use

Meaningful use is using certified electronic health record (EHR) technology to: Improve quality, safety, efficiency, and reduce health disparities. Engage patients and family. Improve care coordination, and population and public health.

Meaningful use, which CMS changed to "advancing care information" and rolled out under the Medicare Merit-based Incentive Payment System, will now be called "promoting interoperability."

Stakeholders Encouraged by CMS' Plan for Meaningful Use Flexibility

CMS' announcement that it plans to issue a rule that would update the meaningful use program to give eligible providers and hospitals more flexibility in meeting program requirements has been met mostly with praise, Becker's Health IT & CIO Review reports.

Under the 2009 economic stimulus package, providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health records can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments (Jayanthi, Becker's Health IT & CIO Review, 2/2).

Background on Proposal

Last week, CMS in a blog post said it is considering proposals that would:

  • Alter parts of the program to reduce complexity and providers' reporting burdens, as well as to match long-term goals;
  • Give eligible hospitals more time to incorporate 2014 Edition certified EHR software into their workflows by realigning EHR reporting periods to the calendar year; and
  • Shorten the 2015 EHR reporting period from 365 days to 90 days.

The rule is expected to be released in the spring, and it would be separate from the Stage 3 proposed rule that is set to come out in March (iHealthBeat, 1/29).


Donald Fisher, president and CEO of American Medical Group Association, in a release said his organization is "very pleased with CMS' announcement," adding, "These changes will be enormously helpful to our members who have pioneered the use of EHRs" (Becker's Health IT & CIO Review, 2/2).

Similarly, Mayo Clinic CIO Cris Ross noted that the adjustments would "allow provider and hospital organizations to accurately depict their compliance with meaningful use with less administrative overhead."

Meanwhile, Sue Schade -- CIO at University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers -- said the proposal "reflects that the voices of CIOs and others in the industry are being heard in terms of some of the adjustments that are needed to the timing and the regulations at this point."

Anders Gilberg, senior vice president of government affairs at the Medical Group Management Association, said his organization is "encouraged" by the announcement and urged CMS "to expedite the release of its 90-day reporting provision to give physician practices the confidence they need to continue participating in this program" (Miliard, Healthcare IT News, 1/30).

Meanwhile, Steven Stack -- president-elect of the American Medical Association -- in a statement said that while his organization is "eager" for the new rule, it is important that it "be issued expediently," as "today's EHR certification standards and the stringent requirements of the Meaningful Use program do not support that goal and decrease efficiency" (Bowman, FierceEMR, 1/30).

Source: iHealthBeat, Wednesday, February 4, 2015

CMS says Most Eligible Professionals Have Attested to Stage 2

The majority of health care providers who were eligible to attest to Stage 2 of the meaningful use program have done so, according to the latest CMS data, Clinical Innovation & Technology reports.

Under the 2009 economic stimulus package, providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health records can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments (Pedulli, Clinical Innovation & Technology, 1/14).

Attestation Data Details

During a Health IT Policy Committee meeting on Jan 13, 2015, officials at CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT said as of Nov. 30, 2014:

  • 77% -- or 1,814 -- of the 2,115 Stage 2-eligible hospitals had attested to Stage 2 of the meaningful use program; and
  • About 60% of Stage 2-eligible professionals had attested to Stage 2 of the program (Slabodkin, Health Data Management, 1/14).

According to Politico Pro, the latest numbers paint Stage 2 meaningful use attestations in a different light from those reported last month, when officials said just 4% of eligible providers had attested to Stage 2 as of Dec. 1.

Elisabeth Myers of CMS' Office of eHealth Standards and Services explained that previous analyses reviewed attestation numbers for all eligible providers, rather than just for those who were expected to meet Stage 2 (Allen, Politico Pro, 1/13).

To be eligible for Stage 2, providers must have completed two years of Stage 1 attestation.

Dawn Heisey-Grove, public health analyst at ONC, noted that only 42% of all eligible providers and 56% of eligible hospitals had been expected to meet Stage 2 requirements.

Meaningful Use Incentive Payment Details

Further, CMS said it has paid out about $26 billion in incentive payments to eligible hospitals and eligible professionals. The payments included $8.7 billion to Medicaid providers and $17.3 billion to Medicare providers (Clinical Innovation & Technology, 1/14).

Source: iHealthBeat, Wednesday, January 14, 2015

How to choose a (more) usable Electronic Health Record (EHR) system

The usability of the system is probably the most important factor in making an informed choice of which EHR to use for your practice. Most every bit of software says that it is easy to use, but how can you choose an EHR that is actually usable?

ONC Releases First Draft Test Scenario To Gauge EHR Systems' Usability

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has released the first draft test scenario for assessing the real-world usability of electronic health record systems under Stage 2 of the meaningful use program, Modern Healthcare reports.

Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR systems can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.

About the Test Scenarios

The use of test scenarios is optional. EHR vendors are not required to pass the test scenarios for their systems to receive certification under the meaningful use program.

The first draft test scenario evaluates the ability of EHR systems to receive information -- such as a medication and allergy lists -- from an outside source.

According to an ONC release, the first draft test scenario aims to ensure that EHR systems can achieve "a clinically plausible test flow" of data (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 2/6).

Comment Period, Future Releases

The agency is accepting public comments on the first draft test scenario. Comments can be submitted to (Durben Hirsch, FierceEMR, 2/6).

ONC plans to develop additional test scenarios in the future (Modern Healthcare, 2/6).

Source: iHealthBeat, Thursday, February 7, 2013