Over the last few months as I have met with the various departments during faculty meetings, there have been several questions regarding Meaningful Use (MU). I would like to address some of those questions.
What is Meaningful Use?
Meaningful use is the set of standards defined by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Incentive Programs that governs the use of electronic health records (EHR/EMR) and allows eligible providers and hospitals to earn incentive payments by meeting specific criteria.
The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 provides the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) with the authority to establish programs to improve health care quality, safety, and efficiency through the promotion of health IT, including electronic health records and private and secure electronic health information exchange.
How does MU Affect Us?
In order to receive the incentive payments from CMS, for seeing Medicare and Medicaid patients, organizations and providers using an EHR are mandated to report (attest) to a set of measures – core and menu (See attachment 1).
What is our present MU Status?
Over the last nine (9) months, we have been assessing our ability to meet and attest to the various MU metrics. Each department, Chair and Administrator, sees the monthly status of their individual providers in a report provided by the Office of Clinical Affairs. From an overall institution perspective, for MU, Stage 1, Year 2, out of the 14 Core measures, we feel confident of attesting to 12 of the 14 measures for a majority of providers. Of the 10 Menu measures, we are presently in the position to successfully attest to 5. Our goal is to attest to all measures for all providers.
So what’s next?
In order to attest successfully a variety of tweaks have been made to the EMR system over the past few months to specifically capture information on:
- Clinical Visit Summaries (i.e. Patient Instructions),
- Transition of Care,
- Medication Reconciliation, and
- Electronic Prescribing.
With these changes made, our planned attestation period will be October 1 to December 31, 2013.
In order to ensure we meet this goal, weekly reports will be provided to Department Chairs and Administrators. I, along with members of the EMR Team, will visit clinics and providers that may have MU challenges to assist them in attaining the benchmark levels set by CMS.
I truly understand that the changes we face as we move forward into a new time in medicine (See Attachment 2) can bring challenges and frustrations. My hope is that as an institution, we can embrace and leverage technologies to improve not only our clinical process, but more importantly provide the highest level accountable care to our patients.
Please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns you may have.
Ogechika K Alozie, M.D., M.P.H.
Chief Medical Informatics Officer (CMIO)