In a previous post, we discussed how preparation by providers for Stage 2 of CMS’s meaningful use is a multi-step initiative. The best place to begin is with a list of the Stage 2 measures, divided into three categories: threshold increases, measures that move from menu to core, and new measures. Once these designations are made, planning should begin on the most difficult measures. In Year 1 of Stage 2, attestations are tied to each calendar quarter (instead of to any 90-day period, as with Stage 1), so there will only be four chances to attest successfully in 2014. With fewer Year 1 attestation opportunities in Stage 2, mastering the more challenging measures in a timely manner will prove vital to continued meaningful use progress.
Start to Implement Difficult Measures Immediately
As previously mentioned, brand-new measures will demand the most attention. A majority of the new measures call for adjusted work flows and increased patient involvement. A prime example of a new measure that can be implemented now is working with patients to view, download, or transmit their health information to a third party; 5% of unique patients must do so in Stage 2. Simply providing access to a patient portal is no longer enough.
Getting patients to access their health information online starts with making them feel comfortable with the idea – and the tools. In most cases, this requires educating them about patient portal features and the benefits of becoming more involved in their care. Actions such as setting up waiting room kiosks to educate patients on the portal or developing marketing campaigns on patient engagement will go a long way in preparing providers and patients for upcoming shifts in their relationship.
Similarly, another new core measure requires 5% of unique patients to engage in secure electronic messaging with their provider. Electronic messaging is an entirely new concept to many patients and providers alike. The messages are not restricted to traditional correspondence, such as e-mail, but can also include notifications about appointment requests, refill messages, and lab results. Even with a relatively low threshold, compliance with this measure requires new work flows coupled with changes in patient behavior.
With meaningful use Stage 2 quickly approaching, it is important to realize that new measures will not be accommodated with a flip of a switch. Rather, they require informed and careful planning; provider, staff, and patient education; and lead time to carry out. Below is a complete list of new core and menu measures for Stage 2. As organizations continue to prepare for Stage 2 of meaningful use, addressing these items early on will increase the odds of successful attestation in 2014.
Molly Oehmichen, Manager, and Nate McCarthy, Manager, contributed to this post. For more information on MU Stage 2, refer to the Diagnostic on our Web site.