FOCUS OF THE WEEK
Hospitals and Physicians Face Challenges with Stage 2 Meaningful Use
May 7, 2014, 12:26:36 PM
Katie Sullivan, MA
Only 50 physicians and 4 hospitals that enrolled in the federal electronic health record (EHR) incentive payment program have reported achieving Stage 2 meaningful use of EHRs. Officials from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) said that due to these low numbers, many participating practitioners who did not achieve Stage 2 risk having their Medicare reimbursement payments lowered at the end of 2014.

Hospitals that completed 2 to 3 years of meaningful use at Stage 1 advanced into Stage 2 beginning on October 1, 2013. Participating hospitals must achieve 90 consecutive days of Stage 2 meaningful use during 2014, or they will face a 1% rate reduction in their Medicare payments. Physicians and other providers will have until the end of 2014 to advance to Stage 2, but many have voiced concern as to whether they have the same capabilities as hospitals to make the transition.

“I don’t find meaningful use to be very meaningful. I find it to be aggravating and time-consuming, and sometimes a flat-out waste of time I could be using for continuing education, teaching, or otherwise honing my skills. I find that many things that I end up having to document are unnecessary and not relevant for a dermatology practice,” said Doris Day, MD, clinical associate professor of dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center.

Despite concerns, policy advocates said that effective use of EHRs is important to improve the quality of patient care and office workflows. Some physicians maintain that meaningful use requirements, while beneficial, can infringe on time that should be spent treating patients. The HHS Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology suggested that they understand the importance of stakeholder input, recently announcing that they would be making changes to EHR certification in 2015.

“The proposed 2015 Edition EHR certification criteria reflect ONC’s commitment to incrementally improving interoperability and efficiently responding to stakeholder feedback,” said Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH, national coordinator for health IT. “We will continue to focus on setting policy and adopting standards that make it possible for healthcare providers to safely and securely exchange electronic health information and for patients to become an integral part of their care team.”

Around the Web

Few Hospitals, Docs at Stage 2 Meaningful Use, CMS Official Says [Modern Healthcare]

Meaningful Use Criteria Frustrating, But Inescapable [Dermatology Times]

ONC Proposes 2015 Edition EHR Certification Criteria [EHR Intelligence]