Is your medical practice a bit confused by the requirements it needs to meet to demonstrate meaningful use in Stage 2? After all, there are 17 core objectives that must be met in addition to three menu objectives. That's a total of 20 objectives that must be met in order to qualify for Medicare payment incentives. Here's a quick look at a few tips you should know to get the most out of your meaningful use in Stage 2 (MU2).
Get it in writing
If you're waiting on your vendor to upgrade its EHR, you should get it in writing as to the date that the upgrade should be complete. It becomes impossible for you to reach Meaningful Use Stage 2 compliance when your vendor doesn't supply you with the right technology and products.
Start preparing now
If your medical practice is still in Stage 1, you should go ahead and start preparing for Stage 2. There will come a time when Stage 2 is a mandate, not merely just an option. Plus, the sooner you start preparing for the transition to Stage 2, the smoother the transition will likely be. And if you thought Stage 1 was difficult to prepare for, the criterion that must be met in Stage 2 is far more advanced and extensive.
Start testing now
Not only do you need to start preparing for the switch, but you need to start testing, too. You should choose the menu objections that you are wanting to attest to, and then test those measures according to the system that you have in place. During the testing process, it's essential to make sure you are able to collect the data that you need to fulfill Stage 2 requirements. If you notice that certain parts of your practice are lacking, you can make the necessary changes to ensure Stage 2 compliance is maintained.
Review all physicians
If your practice has more than one physician, you must make sure each of them are in compliance with Stage 2. Just because you are meeting the requirements doesn't mean that everyone else is. Immediate action needs to be taken in regards to the physicians who are not meeting Stage 2 criteria.
Provide platforms of patient engagement
Can your patients go online and log into a portal that lets them examine their health records? If they can't, you should work on a plan to increase patient engagement. And to meet Stage 2 requirements for the core objective of increasing patient engagement, you will need to ensure that at least five percent of your patients are taking advantage of your online health records portal. To increase awareness of the online portal, make sure to post signs in your office, send your patients an email, and tell them in person when they come to their appointments.
Are you an exception?
There are professionals and hospitals that will qualify for a Stage 2 exception, but only if they can prove that demonstrating meaningful use will cause a hardship. Do keep in mind, though, that a hardship exception cannot last for more than five years, meaning the transition process should start now to ensure you are in full compliance once the mandate goes into effect and any hardship exceptions have ceased.
The best way to start the switch to MU2 is by speaking with your current vendor and seeing if they offer the technology needed to make the upgrade. If not, you'll want to consider switching vendors.