Understanding Meaningful Use

What is Meaningful Use?

Meaningful Use (MU) is the federal incentive program introduced in 2009 to promote the use certified Electronic Health Record (EHR) technology among healthcare providers. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) provides financial incentives to eligible providers who are able to show that they “meaningfully use” their EHR to positively impacting patient care. Providers do this by attesting to a number of objectives laid out in the program.

Meaningful Use is important because the exchange of patient data between healthcare providers, insurers, and patients themselves is critical to advancing patient care, data security, and the healthcare IT industry as a whole.

Meaningful Use in 3 Stages

Meaningful Use Stage 1 began in 2010. The emphasis at that time was on certified EHR adoption, proper electronic data capture and data sharing. Eligible providers received incentives payments by meeting nine core objectives and one public health objective.

Meaningful Use Stage 2 was introduced in late 2012. Stage 2 increased the thresholds of criteria compliance and introduced decision support, care coordination requirements, and patient engagement rules.

Meaningful Use Stage 3 appeared in 2014 and ran through 2106. The focus during Stage 3 was on interoperability and improving patient outcomes. Providers had the option to begin Stage 3 as late as 2017.

Did Meaningful Use End in 2017?

Did Meaningful Use end in 2017? Yes, and no. The concepts and practices underlying Meaningful Use are alive and well today, but the activities are now reported under the Advancing Care Information (ACI) portion of the new Merit-based Incentive Program, or MIPS, which was ushered in by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, or MACRA.

Regardless of when you started meeting Meaningful Use objectives, eligible providers can report either Modified Stage 2 or Stage 3 in 2017. Providers reporting Stage 2 must report a full year of data and those attempting Stage 3 early only need to report just 90 days of data.

Advancing Care Information (ACI)

The ACI category replaces Meaningful Use and accounts for 25% of a provider’s composite MIPS score. The program has been reworked to offer a base score and a performance score. There are two measures to choose from based on your practice’s use of certified EHR technology (either the 2014 or 2015 edition).practitioners report key measures of information exchange, as well as security and interoperability, i.e. how well their records communicate with those of other offices and stakeholders in the system. To score well on this measure, ensuring that your EHR system communicates well with others and has appropriate security measures in place.

What is Certified EHR (CEHRT)?

To avoid a Medicare payment adjustment or receive a Medicaid incentive payment, health care providers must use an EHR like athenaPractice that is certified specifically for the EHR Incentive Programs. CEHRT assures that an EHR system or module offers the necessary technological capability, functionality, and security to help them meet the meaningful use criteria. Certification also helps health care providers and patients be confident that the electronic health IT products and systems they use are secure, can maintain data confidentially, and can work with other systems to share information.

Our athenaPractice Solution version 12.3 meets the 2105 edition of the Health Information Technology (Health IT) Certification criteria. Providers on the athenaPractice platform must use the 2015 certified version of the software for their 2018 reporting period.

Prevention of Information Blocking Attestation

There’s an additional attestation today meant to encourage providers to play fair, and follow the regulations set forth in MACRA. In order to submit an attestation, you have to act in good faith when you implement and use your CEHRT to exchange electronic health information. This includes working with technology developers and others who build CEHRT to make sure the technology is used correctly and is connected (and enabled) to meet applicable standards and laws. You must also ensure that your organizational policies and workflows are enabled and do not restrict the CEHRT’s functionality in any way. For example, if your CEHRT gives patients access to their electronic health information or exchanges information with other health care providers, your practice must use these capabilities.

Attestation Checklist

Medicare eligible professionals participating in the ACI portion of MIPS, formerly known as Meaningful Use, need the following to successfully attest:

  1. Meet all the necessary measures to successfully demonstrate meaningful use and quality for an EHR incentive payment
  2. Completed the appropriate reporting period and timeframe
  3. Maintains an active registration status in CMS’ Registration and Attestation System
  4. An active EHR Certification Number

CMS has several help desks set up to provide assistance with the EHR Incentive Program. To reach the EHR Information Center Help Desk, call (888) 734-6433 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

How Quatris Healthco Helps You Meet Meaningful Use Requirements

Our athenaPractice Solution version 12.3 meets the 2105 edition of the Health Information Technology (Health IT) Certification criteria. So, you’re ahead of the game right out of the gate.

Beyond certified EHR adoption, Meaningful Use focuses on proper electronic data capture and data sharing, decision support, care coordination, patient engagement, interoperability and improving patient outcomes. Quatris Healthco can implement solutions to address any or all of the above.

With Healthcare Connections and Integration Services at the ready today, practices have the tools to track and measure essential patient data for the health of the patient, and the financial health of the practices. Additionally, our patient engagement solutions—Patient Portal, Electronic Statements, Online Bill Pay, and Patient Notification Services—all help to address Meaningful Use.

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