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What Can I Expect From Meaningful Use Stage 2?

Providers cannot begin attesting to meaningful use stage 2 until 2014 – and even then, they can only do so after having successfully attested to stage 1 for two full years. Still, a growing number of healthcare professionals are preparing for the second phase of the federal incentive program and leaving no stone unturned in their quest for meaningful use incentives. Are you wondering how you can start preparing? Begin by familiarizing yourself with the final guidelines, including how stage 2 requirements differ from the ones you are working on now.

Building Blocks

If you understand stage 1 and have successfully attested to meaningful use, you won’t have much to worry about. Stage 2 essentially builds on the core and menu objectives outlined in stage 1. One difference, however, is that hospitals and physicians must meet a greater number of objectives. In addition, percentages have been increased, meaning that providers will need to step up their game. For example, instead of documenting demographic information for more than 50 percent of patients (stage 1), physicians will be required to record specific demographic data for more than 80 percent of patients (stage 2).

Core and Menu Objectives & Clinical Quality Measures (CQM)

For stage 2 of meaningful use, eligible hospitals and providers will be required to meet a different number of objectives using their fully certified EMR. Additionally, although CQMs are no longer listed as a core objective, healthcare professionals participating in the meaningful use program will need to report on CQMs in order to attest to meaningful use. Following are the separate requirements for hospitals and providers:

  • Hospitals must meet 16 of 19 core objectives and 3 of 6 menu objectives. They will also be required to report on 16 of 29 CQMs.
  • Providers must meet 17 of 20 core objectives and 3 of 6 menu objectives. They will also be required to report on 9 of 64 CQMs.

Patient Engagement

There are a couple of new core objectives in meaningful use stage 2 that aim to increase patient engagement. One objective requires the use of secure electronic messaging to communicate with at least 5 percent of patients. (Physicians in limited broadband areas are exempt from this.) Another objective calls for physicians to provide at least 5 percent of their patients “the ability to view online, download and transmit their health information” within four business days of the information being available to the provider.

Data Exchange

A new core objective that focuses on data exchange requires physicians to provide a summary of care record for more than 50 percent of patients that are referred to a another care setting or provider. Additionally, more than 10 percent of these care records will need to be sent electronically. Provider will also need to send at least one summary of care record to a physician with a different EMR or to a CMS-designated test EMR.

Other Notable Differences in Stage 2

  • 2014 is the only year that there will be a three-month reporting period for all healthcare professionals regardless of whether they are reporting for stage 1 or stage 2. To find out when your reporting window is, visit CMS’ website.
  • With stage 2, healthcare groups will be able to submit attestation information for different providers all at once. Currently, each provider must submit attestation data separately.

If you are looking for a fully certified EMR than can help you meet meaningful use, check out one of our specialty-specific EMR systems. Our software solutions feature interactive reporting modules and integrate with billing and practice management software.

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