“Meaningful Use Criteria” refers to specific features of an EHR system that providers will be required to utilize in their practice or organization if they are to qualify for the incentives listed in the HITECH Act. Eligible Professionals (EPs), Eligible Hospitals (EHs) and Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) may receive incentive payments from the Medicare or State Medicaid programs for meaningful use of certified EHR technology.
Consultation on Meeting the Meaningful Use Criteria
The Fox Group has an extensive understanding of the details contained in the meaningful use criteria pertaining to providers, and that insight is combined with our strong background in healthcare operations in both inpatient and outpatient settings. With this comprehensive understanding and skill-set, our consulting firm has assisted providers in utilizing their EHR systems in a manner that has allowed them to successfully meet the meaningful use criteria. As a matter of fact, we have assisted a number of EHR developers as well by providing them with EHR system certification and design consultation. In doing so, we have helped these vendors to bring products to the market that both meet the requirements for certification, and lend themselves to the needs of end-users.
So we really do know these systems, their benefits, and how to successfully implement their capabilities into a real-world working environment.
Meaningful Use and Internal Objectives ... understanding both
For providers, meeting the requirements laid out in the meaningful use criteria is important, but it is also only a partial objective. Meeting the requirements of your own internal operations in a successful manner will be every bit as important in your adoption of EHR technology. We at The Fox Group recognize and excel at meeting both of these critical needs, and invite you to contact us if you would like to have a discussion about your own unique set of circumstances.
We also believe that the best decisions are made after one has educated oneself on the facts. So we're very pleased to provide you with some substantial background on the topic of Meaningful Use Criteria and EHR Technology.
Some Background on the HITECH Act and Meaningful Use Criteria
On July 13, 2010, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) along with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released the Final Rule covering the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program. This Rule finalized a great many aspects of the program including the definition of EHR Meaningful Use criteria.
The first draft of the meaningful use criteria was published in June 2009 by the Meaningful Use Workgroup of the Health Information Technology Policy Committee, the advisory committee established to propose regulations and policies to implement the HITECH Act. An Interim Final Draft rule was published in January 2010.
The Meaningful Use Criteria are driven by Health Outcomes Policy Priorities and Care Goals.
Health Outcomes Policy Priorities for Meaningful Use include:
- Improve the quality, safety, efficiency of health care, and reduce health disparities.
- Engage patients and families.
- Improve care coordination.
- Improve public health.
- Ensure adequate privacy and security protections for PHI.
The Meaningful Use Criteria Include 10 Care Goals:
- Provide access to comprehensive patient health data for the patient’s health care team.
- Use evidence-based order sets and computerized physician order entry.
- Apply clinical decision support at the point of care.
- Generate lists of patients who need care and use them to reach out to patients, e.g., reminders, care instructions, etc.
- Report to patient registries for quality improvement, public reporting, etc.
- Provide patients and families with timely access to data, knowledge, and tools to make informed decisions and manage their health.
- Exchange meaningful clinical information among professional health care team members.
- Communicate with public health agencies.
- Ensure privacy and security protections for confidential information through operating policies, and technologies and compliance with applicable law.
- Provide transparency of data sharing to the patient.
These Care Goals were slated for implementation through a series of Objectives and Measures. And these Objectives and Measures were scheduled for implementation over a four-year period between 2011 and 2015.
Meaningful Use Criteria has Evolved: Stage 1 and Stage 2
The Meaningful Use Stage 1 Final Rule addressed the Objectives and Measures requirements for the first period of meaningful use by an EP/EH/CAH. CMS later issued the Meaningful Use Stage 2 Final Rule, addressing changes to the Objectives and Measures for providers planning to claim incentive payments in future years, after 2 years or less of compliance with Stage 1 requirements.