News Feature | October 4, 2013

ONC Sets Goals For MU Stage 3

By Katie Wike, contributing writer

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The Meaningful Use Workgroup is designing Stage 3 of Meaningful Use with a focus on connecting functionality and outcome

Government Health IT notes the Meaningful Use Workgroup recently met to determine goals for the third stage of Meaningful Use. In an effort to meet their intent of “translating desired health outcomes into meaningful use functionality,” the group - Chaired by the Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s Paul Tang, MD - presented a few priorities that have emerged from recent discussions as:

  • improving quality of care and safety
  • engaging patients and families in their care
  • improving care coordination
  • improving population and public health
  • affordable care
  • reducing health disparities

The Consumer Partnership for eHealth offered it opinion of what is needed for Stage 3, writing, “We believe the ‘Meaningful Use’ EHR Incentive Program offers a significant, unprecedented opportunity to reduce health disparities by addressing not only the multi-faceted needs of individuals and groups, but also the overlapping needs of all populations. To date, this potential has not been fully realized, and it is an opportunity we cannot afford to squander.

CPeH further writes, “With Stage 3, the Meaningful Use program must incorporate infrastructure and uses of certified EHRs that will reduce health disparities as a measurable health outcome. To this end, we have come together to create an evidence-based action plan for leveraging the EHR Incentive Program to reduce health disparities. The three areas identified – data collection and use to identify disparities; language, literacy, and communication; and care coordination and planning – stem from an extensive review of scientific literature. The EHR uses reflect what we believe to be realistically achievable for Stage 3 based on the criteria proposed by the HIT Policy Committee.”

InformationWeek Healthcare reports on the response to Stage 3 of the American College of Physicians, writing Peter Basch, chair of the ACP's Medical Informatics Committee, “recommends improving the implementation of the requirements as to lessen the burden on physicians and hospitals. Part of this can be accomplished by less ‘checking boxes’ and more flexibility in the standards that recognize better patient outcomes.

“Some of this flexibility could come from participation in appropriate activities, such as participation in national registries, published data or other specified Maintenance of Certification programs. ‘While we support the goals represented by the Meaningful Use objectives, we are concerned about the appropriateness, focus and feasibility of some of the proposed measures, as well as the potential unintended consequences and additional costs to the practices of these well-intended efforts.’"

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