FOCUS OF THE WEEK
Stage 2 Meaningful Use Deadline Extended, Sights Set on Stage 3
December 13, 2013, 08:02:01 AM
Katie Sullivan
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced that Stage 2 of the EHR Meaningful Use program would be extended through 2016, especially as many healthcare CIOs continue to struggle with health IT tool vendors. This also means that Stage 3 will be delayed until 2017.

“The goal of this change is two-fold: First, to allow CMS and ONC to focus efforts on the successful implementation of the enhanced patient engagement, interoperability and health information exchange requirements in Stage 2; and second, to utilize data from Stage 2 participation to inform policy decisions for Stage 3,” read a statement from CMS. “The phased approach to program participation helps providers move from creating information in Stage 1, to exchanging health information in Stage 2, to focusing on improved outcomes in Stage 3. This approach has allowed us to support an aggressive yet smart transition for providers.”

Some industry professionals have already begun to set their sights on Stage 3 Meaningful Use. Those providers with at least 2 years of participation in Stage 2 Meaningful Use don’t have to wait to start implementation of Stage 3. Perhaps the most promising innovation driving Stage 3 is the concept of integrating patient-generated health data into its requirements.

Policy makers, who recognize the evolution of patients in healthcare, have approached the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) Health IT Policy Committee with how adding this requirement will shape Stage 3 Meaningful Use. The Committee works with groups to define meaningful use, the ways in which electronic health records (EHRs) can support meaningful use, and how providers can demonstrate meaningful use.

“We cannot fully underscore how important it is for the HITPC to recommend the use and integration of patient-generated health data as part of the MU Stage 3 requirements,” read a letter from a group of policy makers including the American Telemedicine Association, the Association for Competitive Technology, the Center for Data Innovation, the Continua Health Alliance, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, IHE USA, the Telecommunications Industry Association, and the Wireless-Life Sciences Alliance.

Patient-generated health data can help to address health concerns and promote accountability in providers. The report added, “The health and financial benefits of remote patient monitoring are significant. Remote monitoring connects patients, care providers and medical professionals, virtually anywhere, facilitating ongoing care and treatment wherever and whenever it needs to happen.”

Putting the patient at the center of improving health outcomes is not being seen only in health information technology.  Last month, several sessions presented at The American Journal of Managed Care’s “Patient-Centered Oncology Care: Real-World Perspectives” emphasized how patients are becoming more active participants in their own cancer care.

Around the Web

CMS Extends Stage 2, Delays Stage 3 [Health Data Management]

Associations Call on ONC to Include Patient-Generated Data in Stage 3 [Government Health IT]

Why is EHR Certification Endangering Stage 2 Meaningful Use? [EHR Intelligence]