The final Stage 2 Rule for Meaningful Use has been released and the consensus is that there some revisions but no major surprises in this version compared to the draft revealed earlier this year.
Where Stage 1 focused on getting physicians to adopt electronic health record systems in their offices, Stage 2 will focus on strengthening the interactivity of EHRs, standardizing data formats and adding assets to the records systems.
According to an article at Information Week:
“The 672-page rule is similar to a proposal released in February in that it essentially makes the optional menu items from Stage 1 mandatory, adds a requirement for patient engagement, allows medical groups to attest to Meaningful Use for multiple providers at once, and raises some of the thresholds in meeting mandatory items. For example, Stage 2 requires providers to enter medication orders electronically for at least 60% of their patients, up from 30% in Stage 1.”
Another major initiative addressed in Stage 2 will be security.
The move toward a focus on interoperability standards and security issues appear to be arriving in timely fashion. A recent survey by Medscape noted that one of the major issues for physicians currently using EHRs has been interconnectivity (54 percent said they were not satisfied with their systems on this factor). Security may not be as big an issue (77 percent reported no concerns about patient privacy with their systems), but as interconnectivity grows, that could change.
Meaningful Use, which comes from a federal economic stimulus program, is aimed at getting physicians and hospitals to adopt EHRs and provides incentives for those that do. Physicians have until 2017 to sign-on for the program, but those who wait face penalties. It appears to be slowly achieving that goal. According to a post at Government IT, payments of $6.9 billion in meaningful use incentives had been made as of August.
Meaningful use Stage 2 comes into effect in 2014 and will be followed by Stage 3 in 2016.
We at BillingParadise know that dealing with all these technical issues can be a concern for physicians, especially those in small practices. Contact us and we will be glad to help you get answers to your questions.