Archive for the ‘Meaningful Use’ Category

Changes from Meaningful Use Stage 1 to Stage 2

Posted on: October 30th, 2012 by admin 1 Comment


The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has published the Meaningful Use (MU) Stage 2 criteria for eligible professionals. There are a number of changes from Stage 1 to Stage 2. There will now be 17 core objectives for Stage 2, instead of the 15 that were in Stage 1. The menu set objectives for Stage 2 are now reduced to six (instead of ten), and eligible professionals must select three (instead of five). Some of the other changes are described below:

Core Objectives
Implementing drug-drug and drug-allergy interaction checks are no longer a separate objective in Stage 2. This measure is incorporated into the Stage 2 Clinical Decision Support measure.

Maintaining an active medication list, maintaining active medication allergy lists, and maintaining an up-to-date problem list of current and active diagnoses are no longer separate objectives in Stage 2 either. These measures are incorporated into the stage 2 measure of Summary of Care Document at Transitions of Care and Referrals.

Reporting clinical quality measures (CQM) is no longer a separate objective for Stage 2, however providers must still submit CQMs to CMS or the States in order to achieve MU. In fact, beginning in 2014, all CQMs will need to be submitted electronically to CMS.

Capability to exchange key clinical information among providers of care and patient authorized entities electronically has been completely eliminated from Stage 2 and is actually eliminated from Stage 1 in 2013 as well.

Implementing drug-formulary checks is no longer a separate objective for Stage 2. Instead, it is included in the ePrescribing measure for Stage 2.

Providing patients with timely electronic access to their health information has been eliminated from Stage 2 and will also no longer be an objective from Stage 1 in 2014.

There is also a new core objective for stage 2 which requires eligible professionals to use secure electronic messaging to communicate with patients on relevant health information for more than 5% of unique patients seen during the EHR reporting period.

Menu Objectives
There are five new menu objectives which are:

Recording electronic notes in patient records for more than 30% of unique patients.

Imaging results consisting of the image itself and any explanation or other accompanying information are to be made accessible through certified EHRs.

Recording patient family health history as structured data for more than 20% of unique patients seen during the EHR reporting period.

Successful ongoing submission of cancer case information and another specific case from certified EHRs to registries for the entire EHR reporting period.

Now this is just a high level synopsis of the Stage 2 changes. For more details and to get the most recent updates, please visit the CMS Stage 2 Website. You can also download a comparison table for Stage 1 and Stage 2 for eligible professionals or a quick tip sheet on changes to Stage 1.

Meaningful Use of EHR’s Should be More Meaningful

Posted on: October 25th, 2012 by admin No Comments

I read the other day about how Dr. Mostashari believes that the Meaningful Use of EHR’s should not just be limited to technology use but to use the data that comes out of the technology to make meaningful decisions. I definitely concur with the ONC Coordinator. I think that if you do have a system such as a web-based electronic health records system, it is easier to interact with the web and share data cross platform. Also, not only should the data be generated in one location, but should also be shared across an organization in a way that doesn’t require multiple doctors entering in multiple variables on blood pressure at multiple locations. I am glad that EHR’s such as Panacea, a web-based electronic health records system, allows for the storage of population health, syndromic information, as well as reporting on meaningful use metrics. In this way, EHRs will be utilized in a more meaningful way.

EHR’s and Improved Healthcare

Posted on: October 22nd, 2012 by admin No Comments

According to the The Journal for General Internal Medicine, cited in an article by Ken Terry of Health IT News, EHR (electronic health record) use by community doctors is actually related to an increased quality of healthcare delivery! This article actually blew me away because a study is actually correlating a link between use of technology like EHR and improved healthcare delivery. The main distinguishing factor was on using the EHR to order tests for their patients. As with most web-based EHR’s like Panacea™, a provider can set alerts based on a specific range of criteria. Whenever they see a patient with a specific condition, the EHR will flag the provider and instruct him/or her to order the test. Well, we now have a specific study (which Im sure is only another out of many that have been done before) that supports use and adoption of electronic health record technology. When used meaningfully, providers are even incentivized financially to use EHR’s through the EHR incentive program established by the government. So the question remains: why not use EHR’s if they are linked to improved healthcare delivery? Any thoughts?

The Case for Web-Based EHR

Posted on: October 19th, 2012 by admin 2 Comments

It dawned on me today how many expenses a small physician practice has to incur in the daily course of the month. Imagine if the same small practice doc is also forced to buy over ten thousand dollars worth of hardware and software for his EHR investment? I would not recommend such a burden.  What I would make the case for is investing in a web-based electronic health record product. With a web-based EHR, the following advantages just cannot be beaten:

  • Shorter implementation time
  • No need to purchase expensive hardware and or supporting software
  • Easier to Use
  • More affordable

EHRs such as Panacea™ from OA Systems, Inc. is one such web-based EHR that can ease the burden of the high costs of EHR acquisition. Also, one can net more meaningful use dollars from the government’s EHR Incentive Program under ARRA. Health IT like an EHR is much more fun and exciting to use when you’re not burdened by a bulky, client-server based system and instead, use a SaaS based system. Would you agree?

4 Ways MU Stage 2 will Impact EHR Vendors

Posted on: October 18th, 2012 by admin No Comments

Stage 2 of Meaningful Use rules for EHRs are finally here! I am excited for the implementation of these rules into EHRs because they align more with the most pressing issue facing the industry today: interoperability. According to Benjamin Harris of Healthcare IT News, the following are some key areas of impact that these new rules will have on us vendors:

  • Transport
  • Gap Testing
  • Base EHR and additional modules
  • Transparency

Basically, with a focus on “transport”, electronic health records (EHR), the transmission of information through documents and internal system generated messages will be addressed through establishment of security standards and cross enterprise document media interchange. An EMR will be transported as a requirement. With gap testing, an EHR will still be able to maintain previous years certification (i.e. 2011), if nothing has changed in the product, but still has the opportunity to get certified against the new criteria for subsequent years. Third, vendors can streamline their EHR products so that a provider can achieve meaningful use without having to use or forced to use all the components offered in the system that may or may not be useful to a particular provider. Lastly, EHR systems can become more transparent  by making all testing criteria that an EHR is certified against made public as well as  the costs associated with the newly certified EHR. The EHR vendor may face some pushback from customers now that they will know the estimated pricetag of an EHR system but nonetheless, transparency makes both parties lives easier. We at OA Systems will now have to make sure Panacea, our web-based EHR, is not only compliant, but cost effective, when the new Stage 2 criteria is incorporated.

Mostashari: Technology tied to Goals is key for EHR adoption

Posted on: October 17th, 2012 by admin No Comments

Today, ONC National Coordinator Dr. Farzad Mostashari explained how EHR technology is not the only driver of an improved healthcare system but is only an enabler. What is needed is more patient engagement with providers, and that ,“There’s a lot of work still to be done, but the curve is sloping upward; we’re on the steep part of the curve right now,” he explained. I definitely agree with Dr. Mostashari and feel that electronic health records, meaningful use of those EHRs, and patient engagement with their own portals will only take us so far. What is needed is a true partnership between the patient and the provider within the context of “preventative medicine”. If patients interface with EHR technology and let the portals provided within their providers EHRs work for them through their use as a medium of communication, than healthcare will drastically improve. EMR’s or electronic medical records are only used within a physician practice and so by utilizing a longitudinal EHR, patients and providers can partner to leverage EHR systems and EHR vendors will win as well. I also think that utilizing EHR technology that is easy to use such as web-based EHR’s is important because it makes adoption smoother. Would you agree?

Congressmen: End EHR Incentive Program. But Why?

Posted on: October 16th, 2012 by admin No Comments

Recently, four notable Congressmen have been arguing for the reduction or outright elimination of the HITECH EHR incentive program citing the current lack of interoperability standards. This has definitely raised some eyebrows across the Health IT industry and within governmental circles as to the future of the electronic health record incentive program. What is important to ask though is the following question: Are we, as a nation, taking our eye off the ball as to the purpose of EHRs? It can be argued that we are when Congressmen start questioning the entire existence of the incentive program instead of offering solutions to help accelerate the creation and adoption of interoperability standards for EHRs. Therefore, it is important that EHR vendors adapt to the growing pressure and work to get interoperability standards for EHR’s established so that meaningful use is not just a joke, but a serious goal for empowering patients with their medical information. If physicians ignore the negative talk coming from Congress and instead focus on understanding the purpose of EHR, than the whole healthcare system will muster up enough courage to push through standards for electronic health record systems to talk to one another.