Infographics : “Patient engagement” in Stage 2 Meaningful Use – Pitfalls, Impediments and Avenues

 Erika Regulsky Tags: , , , , , , , , , Practice Management
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The First Checkpoint

Consistent with the guidelines of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), eligible professionals (EPs), eligible hospitals (EHs) and critical access hospitals (CAHs) would not meet the Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements directly.

Why not? If you fall short of – the Stage 1 requirements of the 90-day EHR Incentive Programs in your first year of participation and a full year participation in your second year, you are ineligible for the Stage 2 incentive program.

 The Cost Barricade in PHI Utility

          With today’s technology, the patient-edge access to protected health information or more rightly patient health information (PHI) has become much easier. On the other side, many providers are charging money for the patients to view, download and forward their own medical records. This bustle is said to circuitously surpass the meaningful use spirit.

          Though it is not a breach of law under the HIPAA and HITECH acts, industrial experts say that it is not a wiser option as the patients will be saddled. Instead, the providers are advised to collect some fee for the PHI access, from the third parties such as payers and lawyers who would utilize this information to make money.

A PHI Survey

A recent survey conducted by the AHIMA Foundation and the Texas State University is loaded with spanking new facts about the PHI access.

  • Survey polling was based on providers’ IT infrastructure and the habits of their patients.
  • More than 38 percent of the practices are equipped with the patient portal facility.
  • About 40 percent of the equipped providers said that only 5 percent of their patients are logging-in.
  • More than 85 percent of respondents said that only 5 percent of patients ask for their PHI.
  • The number goes beyond 52 percent, when asked for the providers who charge for the electronic copies of the patients’ records.
  • The fee to access PHI ranges from $10 to $50 per medical record.
  • The per page cost lies between five cents and $5.

The Expert Opinions

In the latest AHIMA convention held at Atlanta, Murphy-Abdouch, working as a clinical assistant professor in Texas State University, accentuated the necessity to restructure the healthcare policies and procedures pertaining to PHI access.

Besides, he added that “the patients are progressively more sentient on their personal healthcare and are much more interested in their health information management”. In such a newly-wired environment, “cost could be a hindrance to patient access”.

In case of physical mailing through CD or flash-drive, postage or courier charges and the labor cost may be fixed as the reasonable charge for health information delivery to the patient.

He has a prediction that in next year, the percentage of patient access to the medical records might increase substantially. Thus, the providers must buttress the patient engagement in the stage 2 meaningful use EHR incentive program by clearing the pecuniary roadblocks.

The implausible scenario

As a matter of fact, many providers do not know the real description of patient engagement.

Dan Munro of Forbes has stated that patient engagement might be a “blockbuster drug,” “snake oil,” or someplace amid.

The California Healthcare foundation describes it as “involving patients in their care.”

Venture Beat, a healthcare & technology service enterprise, states that patient engagement as encircling “interactions with technology that culminate in some ancillary or direct health benefit.”

Exactly, Patient Engagement is…

          To offer patients the access to view online, download, and send out information about the clinical encounters and admissions. Besides, it means getting the patients to make use of the health information, particularly sending a secure electronic message to the provider.

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I’m a multi-certified revenue cycle management professional and compliance officer with 20+ years of experience. I contribute articles to leading healthcare publications and journals. I am currently working as Senior Transition Manager, in BillingParadise headquartered at Diamond bar, California. BillingParadise offers Medical Billing Services that intersect perfectly with the EMR/Practice management system you use.BillingParadise has offices in New Jersey, New York, Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, and Texas.

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