Many medical providers still remain unsure of how to attain and manage meaningful use final rules to fulfill criteria and requirements. As the incentive program--which some claim is more of a disincentive measure--moves to Stage 2 in 2014, prior criteria expands with increased requirements.
Understanding these targets and requirements are imperative for compliance, which should protect practice revenues. Stage 2 objectives involve expanded detailed clinical processes that place more responsibility on the medical community to create additional documentation, possibly added cost and more opportunity for errors. First, eligible professionals (EPs) must realize what is required to address and manage these issues efficiently.
Stage 2 Criteria and Focus
- More detailed health information exchange (HIE) necessities,
- Additional e-prescribing and lab result requirements,
- Ability to transmit patient care summaries via multiple platforms, and
- Create more detailed data under patient control.
These are the primary targets of Stage 2 meaningful use final rules. These are the general focus of Stage 2, and assume medical providers have fulfilled Stage 1 requirements, applicable during 2011 and 2012. The overriding target of Stage 1 was the electronic capture of patient care and treatment information, ensuring quality control of care and delivering data for public health information purposes.
Satisfying and Managing Stage 2 Objectives
Core Objectives include the following final rules. The primary targets are to improve care quality, patient safety and reporting efficiency. Here is a partial list of primary goals for 2014.
- Electronic order entry for medications, lab tests and radiology actions,
- Use of e-prescribing (eRx) systems,
- Create the ability for patients to view, download and or transmit their health information,
- Record more detailed clinical summaries,
- To ensure privacy and security, install improved security protection of health data.
- Make lab test results available and thorough,
- Offer patient education resources,
- Maintain electronic patient lists,
- Use of secure electronic messaging to peers and patients,
- Record all medications and reconcile their use,
- Clearly document all preventative care provided, and
- Note all immunization treatments.
Stage 2 targets include the following objectives. The primary goals remain to improve care, safety and efficiency for patient diagnosis and treatment, along with improving public health results. The following issues are specific to eligible medical providers.
- Provide "syndromic surveillance" data,
- Make "notes" on electronic health records (EHRs),
- Offer clear imaging results, with appropriate explanations,
- Digitize family health histories,
- Report all cases involving cancer, and
- Electronically report significant specific cases.
Managing these requirements begins with ensuring you follow the meaningful use rules and maintaining documentation that evidences your compliance. The inability to comply and/or prove your adherence to Stage 2 rules will negatively impact your revenue and claims submissions.
As should be obvious, managing Stage 2 requirements involves no "magic bullet." Successfully achieving Stage 2 meaningful use goals do involve achieving the stated objectives, along with the ability to prove you did so.
If you consider these Stage 2 requirements a daunting challenge, as many EPs do, consider outsourcing these requirements to a top third-party, proven medical documentation firm. You will enjoy these advantages, at a minimum.
- Better protect your current revenue levels or create additional income,
- Security of knowing that the firm's staff is thoroughly trained in Stage 2 requirements,
- Receive assurance that meaningful use rules are consistently followed, and
- Control your costs, while minimizing errors.
Lowering the probabilities of mistakes by overworked and overtaxed busy staff is critical to managing Stage 2 meaningful use requirements. Since most EPs and practice managers are equally busy, it is often unreasonable to expect they can devote the time to guarantee that all rules are followed.
If you choose to comply internally, be sure to create written policies, procedures and checklists for you and your staff to follow to better ensure compliance. Remember, it is ultimately the EP's responsibility to comply with Stage 2 meaningful use rules and objectives.