Meaningful Use

Overview

The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) was enacted on February 17, 2009. ARRA includes many measures to modernize our nation's infrastructure, one of which is the "Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act". The HITECH Act supports the concept of electronic health records - meaningful use [EHR-MU], an effort led by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC). HITECH proposes the meaningful use of interoperable electronic health records throughout the United States health care delivery system as a critical national goal. Meaningful Use is defined by the use of certified EHR technology in a meaningful manner (for example electronic prescribing); ensuring that the certified EHR technology is connected in a manner that provides for the electronic exchange of health information to improve the quality of care; and that in using certified EHR technology the provider must submit to the Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS) information on quality of care and other measures.

The five components of Meaningful Use

  1. Improving quality, safety, efficiency, and reducing health disparities
  2. Engage patients and families in their health
  3. Improve care coordination
  4. Improve population and public health
  5. Ensure adequate privacy and security protection for personal health information

The Stages of Meaningful Use

Stage 1
Stage 1 of the CMS EHR Incentive Program began in 2011, it sets the basic functionalities for EHRs. The requirements are focused on providers capturing patient data and sharing that data either with the patient or with other healthcare professionals. Eligible professionals, eligible hospials, and critial access hospitals will successfully attest to two stage 1 reporting periods before moving to stage 2.

Stage 2
Stage 2 of the CMS EHR Incentive Program begins in 2014, it uses advanced clinical processes. The requirements are focused on health information exchange between providers and promotes patient engagement by giving patients secure online access to their health information.

Stage 3
Stage 3 of the CMS EHR Incentive Program is scheduled to begin in 2016 but the rule has not been finalized. Policy and Standards committees are developing The Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs provide incentive payments to eligible professionals, eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals (CAHs) as they adopt, implement, upgrade or demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology. Eligible professionals can receive up to $44,000 through the Medicare EHR Incentive Program and up to $63,750 through the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program.

Sonte Consulting can assist your organization with its demonstration of meaningful use that will result in your receipt of incentives while obtaining HIPAA compliance simultaneously.