By Justin T. Barnes, former VP of marketing, corporate development and government affairs, Greenway Medical Technologies, Inc.
From the checklist or foundational mentality of Stage 1, to the “prove it” or workflow design-compelling criteria seen in the Stage 2 quality measure proposals released February 23, the emphases on bona fide data exchange (mere testing is history), longitudinal care plans, evidence-based clinical decision support and single standards for everything from care summaries to vocabulary all signal the maturation of care coordination.
The meaningful use incentive program is living up to its promise as the means to an evolutionary process merging with private payer and the Shared Savings/Accountable Care program all seeking the same goals: preventive care, documented quality reporting, patient engagement, liquid data, cost savings and of course definable outcomes improvement.
The CMS Stage 2 Notice of Proposed-Rulemaking (NPRM) presents expected criteria from earlier Health Information Technology Policy Committee recommendations already widely published and vetted through internal commentary phases. And it is expected that Stage 2 reporting thresholds and percentages will remain largely in place come the Final Rule targeted for August, and should not be decreased via the broader public comment phase next underway like we saw with Stage 1.
Do expect, though, discussion on the requirement that 50 percent of patients are provided access to their health information online, with 10 percent actually accessing. While the meaningful use program increases — and Shared Savings stresses — patient engagement, influencing patient behavior and adherence is tricky but doable in terms of signing up for patient portals. Electronic health record (EHR) software providers are widely offering the functionality, but putting a number on patients using portals may be one of the more debatable aspects. Still, we know that practices offering portals are experiencing successful adoption by an increasingly mobile and tech-savvy patient population, so I would expect this requirement to remain, even if in this one instance thresholds do not.
Get more perspective on the release of the Stage 2 Meaningful Use proposal when you access this full guest commentary.