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Stage 3 of Meaningful Use Raises Questions

Stage 3 of Meaningful Use Raises QuestionsApril 6, 2015 by Vickie Anenberg

The release of a proposed rule for Stage 3 of Meaningful Use has raised numerous questions and concerns being voiced by senior healthcare executives and consultants about whether the provisions are too aggressive. Numerous articles have already been posted by healthcare trade media outlets.

John Halamka, the CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, told FierceEMR he is concerned that the thresholds being proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are not actually achievable based on the marketplace. In the article, he was quoted as saying, “If Meaningful Use was converted from a stimulus/penalty program to a pay-for-performance program without penalty, then these thresholds would be more appropriate.”

The threshold that appears to be most at issue concerns one that calls for a minimum 500 percent increase in patient interaction with their EHR medical record. Specifically, the proposed rule calls for more than 25 percent of patients to “actively engage” with their electronic records after having been seen by an eligible professional (EP) or discharged from a hospital or emergency department. The current requirement under Stage 2 calls for only five percent of patients to do so.

Naomi Levinthal, a consultant at The Advisory Board Company, told Healthcare Informatics this particular threshold change is a “game-changer,” and that it calls for an “overestimation of the industry’s readiness.” Comments from other industry experts for this detailed article are available here.

Healthcare Informatics has also posted a Q&A with Russ Branzell, the president and CEO of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME). Although CHIME is still reviewing the proposed rule, Branzell did say, “At this point, we’re pleased with what we’ve seen relative to an overall approach towards simplifying flexibility and interoperability, all things we’ve been asking for, and are pleased that (the Office of the National Coordinator) has put out a rule that addresses those big concerns. Now we need to look into the details.”  

Hospital administrators and CIOs should begin planning for Stage 3 now to determine if their facilities will attest to the rule ahead of the 2018 deadline to begin reporting results.

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