The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is expected to release the notice of proposed rulemaking on Stage 2 Meaningful Use of the federal incentive plan for adopting electronic health records (EHR) sometime today, February 23, 2012.
The proposed rule for Stage 2 is anticipated to require providers and practices to focus more on interoperability. The core menu items is expected to move from testing, which was a heavy focus in Stage 1, to performing actual exchange between providers.
Dr. Farzad Mostashari, the national health IT coordinator, has said often that it would focus not just on collecting data but being able to exchange it with other providers to better coordinate a patient’s care to improve outcomes and to engage with patients and their families.
Health IT solutions vendors and providers still have significant work ahead for them to accomplish some meaningful use measures. Based on experience, the abilities of physicians and their practice to enable patients to view and download their information and transmit summary of care records when patients move among care settings remain the most challenging.
In Stage 1, eligible providers could defer about half of the optional requirements. EHR implementation statistics show that many eligible providers who attested for Stage 1 Meaningful Use deferred the requirements related to patient engagement and coordinating care mainly due to internal IT issues and the lack of operational readiness and by the provider organization.
Interoperability was a key capability recommended by the Health IT Policy Committee, which advises the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT. ONC Chief Dr. Mostashari said last summer that Stage 2 would “look a lot like” those recommendations.
Attesting for Stage 2 Meaningful will prove to be even more of a challenge for eligible providers than Stage 1. With this reality fast approaching, provider organizations that have the right Health IT Services provider will be best positioned to meet the Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements without experiencing any delays in receiving incentive payments.
For more of a preview on the anticipated Stage 2 Meaningful Use proposed rules: Stage 2 ready for primetime