Patients and Providers Face Challenges With Meaningful Use

WHile CMS is trying to lighten doctors' loads to help them cope with mandatory patient engagment requirements, patient advocates are unhappy with the proposed changes.

Proposed changes to patient engagement requirements under the federal government's Meaningful Use program are drawing praise from physician groups but are disappointing patient advocates. "Meaningful use" refers to provisions in the 2009 Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, which authorized incentive payments through Medicare and Medicaid to clinicians and hospitals that use electronic health records (EHRs) in a meaningful way to significantly improve clinical care.

Under the three-stage program, the current Stage 2 requirements call for physician practices to show that more than 5% of all their patients view, download, or transmit to a third party their health information during a 1-year reporting period. Providers also must demonstrate that more than 5% of their patients used the EHR's electronic messaging function to send the provider an email message.

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