The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Release Stage 1 Criteria for ‘Meaningful Use’

Date Added: May 23, 2011

Author: Michael.Young

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The current health care conversation doesn’t just encompass policy reform, it also relates to modernizing our entire health care system with innovative, progressive technology that will better treat the health of our nation. Electronic medical record systems (EMRs) benefit our health care system and the overall health of our nation. However, a recession and credit crunch over the past year have created an adoption barrier for EMRs. Enter the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act)to help overcome this issue.

The Recovery Act authorizes the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services to reimburse eligible physicians and medical facilities who successfully implement electronic medical record technology with ‘meaningful use’. But until recently, ‘meaningful use’ hasn’t been clearly defined.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology recently proposed a working definition for ‘meaningful use’ of an electronic medical records system. The definition is based upon a framework of national priorities to help focus on performance improvement. These priorities, determined by the National Priorities Partnership, include: patient engagement, reduction of racial disparities, improved safety, increased efficiency, coordination of care, increased privacy, improved security, and improved population health.

The proposed definition of meaningful use will depend on the size of the healthcare setting and the availability of technology, and how effectively it can help the facility’s serving population. CMS’ goal is for the definition of meaningful use to be consistent with Medicare and Medicaid law while implementing EMR technology to improve overall health care. CMS’ proposed rule will phase in more robust criteria for meaningful use in three stages.

Stage 1 Criteria for Meaningful Use

The proposed criteria for Stage 1 of meaningful use focuses on capturing health information in a format that is digitized and queriable, using that information to track key information and conditions, to communicate better care coordination, and to report quality measures and public health information.

The Stage 1 criteria, which goes into effect in 2011, are based on a series of objectives that are tied to a proposed measure that all eligible professionals and hospitals must meet in order to demonstrate meaningful use. There are 25 objectives and measures for eligible professionals and 23 for eligible hospitals. All the results for all the objectives and measures must be reported to CMS through attestation.

CMS is planning to release two additional stages of criteria for meaningful use over the next several years. Stage 2 will expand upon Stage 1 criteria in the following areas: disease management, clinical decision support, medication management, support for patient access to health information, transitions in care, quality measurement research, and bi-directional communication with public health agencies. Stage 3 will focus on improvements in quality, safety, and efficiency, while focusing on: decision support for national priority conditions, patient access to self-management tools and comprehensive patient data, and improving population health outcomes.

EMR technology will significantly improve how our health care system effectively communicates and treats our nation’s health. But just like the proposed definition of meaningful use, adoption is going to experience stages of implementation. If you need more information about electronic medical record systems and how they may improve the quality of health care for your practice, contact e-MDs, a leader in electronic medical record software provision.

e-MDs offers a host of affordable solutions for physicians and facilities looking to modernize or enhance their services with the latest EHR/EMR 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.

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Ethan Luke. Electronic Medical Records – e-MDs powerful software can help manage your electronic medical records.

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