Are You Playing The Meaningful Use Waiting Game?

Hurry up and wait. That’s the message to tens of thousands of physicians around the country, thanks to federal level indecisiveness when it comes to proposed rules changes for Meaningful Use Stage 3.

Many doctors and clinic administrators are already feeling overwhelmed with reporting requirements of Stage 2, and now the added uncertainty around Stage 3 is salt in the industry’s open wounds. Plus, Stage 3 of the EHR Incentive Programs drastically increases expectations for the healthcare industry, particularly around health data interoperability, advanced EHR use, and population health management, according to HealthITAnalytics.com.

To help address the growing problem and current uncertainty, U.S. Representative Renee Ellmers (R-NC), a nurse by profession, introduced the Further Flexibility in HIT Reporting and Advancing Interoperability Act, otherwise known as the Flex-IT 2 Act. The bill has 37 co-sponsors in the House. The proposed legislation may be met favorably, as lawmakers consider the declining numbers that indicate the nature of the struggle to comply.

According to ModernHealthCare.com, the number of physicians and other eligible professionals in ambulatory care who attested to having met the requirements of the multibillion-dollar federal program dropped by 12% last year compared with 2013 numbers. The industry trade journal also notes that the relatively high percentage of providers—62%—still stuck on Stage 1 in the fourth full year of the program bears out the wisdom of the CMS’ Stage 2 compliance extension.

As the CEO of HealthCo Information Systems, I have an outsider’s “inside look” at how clinics are managing Meaningful Use attestation. The clinics with the most success understand that there’s little point in delaying the adoption of new EHR procedures. The legislative push from the industry (noted above) is meant to slow down the pace of change being driven by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The point is there’s no going back, EHR is here to stay and for good reason. A more seamless flow of patient information within the digital healthcare infrastructure is a game changer for patients and for the physicians providing care in today’s data-rich, instant-access environments.

If you’re clinic is struggling to adopt Meaningful Use in Stage 1, 2, or 3, HealthCo can help. By adopting GE Healthcare’s Centricity Practice Solution, you’ll be well ahead of the curve. With an informed installation and ongoing customer care from the HealthCo team, your clinic can meet changing federal mandates, secure incentive payments without delay and improve patient care via enhanced data workflows. Let me know how we can help.