The preliminary rules for Stage 2 Meaningful Use were released exactly 6 months ago and like clockwork the “final rules” are now set. I will hold off on commenting about the specific choices that were made and focus on what they are and how providers can get in sync with the program.
The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) is the agency that is in charge of the federal health information technology incentive program. Their goal is to simply to get physicians and hospitals to use EMR technology and use it in a “meaningful” way. Since 2009 when Congress passed the Health Information Technology Act, the program has been blessed with 30 billion dollars to stimulate the use of EMRs and to help defer some of the costs associated with software and hardware.
This phase of the program is built primarily on Stage 1. It states as a requirement to use the EMR a bit differently. Patients now will need to engage with the EMR to download or otherwise share data (medical records). Even though only 5% of patients will be required to do so to meet meaningful use, there has been some pushback because the control is out of the provider’s hands.
The other part of Stage 2 requires doctors to start sharing data with other providers. Along with this is a requirement to automate clinical quality measures for quality measurement and improvement. This is geared toward generating payment and delivery system reform.
For a complete overview of the program, go to www.cms.gov and download all the requirements.
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