‘Meaningful Use’ Rule Clarifies EHR Implementation Standards

Date Added: May 23, 2011

Author: Michael.Young

The nation’s healthcare system is undergoing a dramatic change with the increased use of Electronic Health Records (EHR). The implementation of EHRs reportedly increased after the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) created programs that provided incentive payments for the meaning use of officially recognized EHR technology.

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However, for many months the parameters and requirements by which meaningful use could be established was unclear to medical providers. On July 28, 2010, the National Institute for Standards and Technology released an official definition for meaningful use, clarifying the technology and standards that medical providers need to implement in order to qualify for incentive programs.

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Changes to Meaningful Use Requirements

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One of the most significant changes in the new definition of meaningful use offers providers some flexibility in the requirements to achieve meaningful use. While the proposed rule required hospitals and providers to demonstrate 23 to 25 objectives, the final rule divided the meaningful use requirements into two categories – a set of “core” objectives that must be met and a set of ten “menu” objectives of which providers must meet at least five.

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In addition, the expectations for performance levels were lowered, making meaningful use more attainable by reducing the performance threshold on several measures to 50% or lower so that providers will have more time to achieve universal implementation. Among several other changes in the meaningful use requirements, emergency rooms must also demonstrate meaningful use for the facility to meet the requirements.

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Changes to Meaningful Use EHR Eligibility Requirements

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There are three main changes to the eligibility requirements. First, the final rule defines an eligible hospital, and states that multi-facility systems that have one CNS number will receive a smaller incentive payment and be subject to greater penalties.

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Second, physicians practicing in hospital-owned outpatient clinics are now eligible for incentives, requiring hospitals to rapidly meet the physician’s meaningful use requirements in outpatient clinics. Third, critical access hospitals are now eligible for Medicaid incentives making them more likely to approach hospitals to assist them in becoming compliant to the new meaningful use standards in order to maximize incentives.

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Changes to Meaningful Use Incentive Payouts

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In the new meaningful use rule, eligible providers are allowed to collect Medicaid incentives in the first year without demonstrating meaningful use. Under Medicare, hospitals and physicians must demonstrate meaningful use in successive years to maximize incentives. The final rule clarifies that Medicare-eligible hospitals and physicians have four to five successive years of incentive payouts.

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More Information about Meaningful Use and EHR Systems

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If you need more information about EHR systems and how they may improve the quality of healthcare for your practice, contact e-MDs, a leader in electronic medical record software industry. e-MDs will help you understand how to use your new EHR system in a way that complies with the standards and provisions of the new meaningful use rule.

e-MDs offers a host of affordable, certified EHR solutions for physicians and facilities looking to modernize or enhance their services with the latest electronic health records technology. e-MDs is committed to providing affordable and integrated EHR and Practice Management Software solutions, including clinical, financial and document management modules designed to automate medical practice processes and chart management – delivering the clinical tools needed to succeed in today’s health care environment.

You can find additional detailed information about all the different services and benefits an EHR system has to offer your practice by contacting a representative right now at 1.888.344.9836 or sales@e-mds.com, or visiting them online at www.e-mds.com.

Heather Preston Meaningful use EHR – e-MDs meaningful use EHR helps manage your electronic health records.