Healthcare News & Insights

4 hospitals’ success with meeting Stage 2 Meaningful Use criteria

So far, not many hospitals or providers have met all the criteria for Stage 2 of the Meaningful Use program. If your facility is one of them, here are some tools and methods other hospitals have used to accomplish implementation.  481505435

Many healthcare professionals have blamed being behind on their electronic health record (EHR) vendors, who they claim were unprepared for updating software systems for Stage 2 criteria, according to FierceEMR‘s report. As a result, about 70 hospitals have applied for hardship extensions and the statistics for Stage 2 are looking bleak.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reported that although 95% of hospitals have registered for the Meaningful Use program and 91% have received an incentive payment from the program since 2011, only four of the 30 eligible hospitals attesting for the 2014 reporting year have made it to stage 2.

This is a pretty discouraging figure, considering all hospitals will have to meet all of Stage 2 criteria by 2015 or will see their Medicare reimbursements drop.

Successful practices

The hospitals that are meeting Stage 2 requirements shared with FierceEMR the practices that have helped them get there:

1. Patient Portals for health information access

Patient portals are an effective way to meet Stage 2’s patient engagement requirement, according to Chad Payne, the executive director for Meaningful Use at Kaiser Permanente of Oakland, CA. Portals give patients and physicians a central location to access records, learn about patient education opportunities or events and schedule appointments. Kaiser’s portal has patient concerns in the forefront of its interface and design, and it’s seen a lot of positive feedback from the 4.4 million Kaiser members registered to use it.

2. Dashboards for measuring data

The Cleveland Clinic has used dashboards with built-in Meaningful Use metrics to help make sure their operations are meeting all the requirements. The clinic’s business intelligence department takes patient data and streamlines it for physicians’ dashboards, while administrators track how providers are doing from their own dashboards.

An example of dashboard use is the “diabetes dashboard” created by reserchers from the University of Missouri in 2011. The dashboard allowed physicians to streamline and coordinate care for diabetics through an EHR, ultimately leading to more efficient interactions and lower costs. Doctors were able to check patient vital signs, health condition, medications and necessary tests with only three mouse clicks, compared to the 60 clicks it took pre-dashboard.

3. Portable devices to keep patients engaged

Payne says portable devices can be helpful to meeting Stage 2 objectives. Payne and his team use mobile apps people can download to their smart phones to keep patients involved and informed about their health. For example, the app Kaiser developed allows its patients to email their physicians and access their lab results.

Mobile apps and wireless EHRs are a rising trend in the healthcare industry, allowing facilities to streamline data access, storage and analysis. A word of warning: If your facility does decide to use mobile apps or other options for portable devices, be sure your health information is secure through those tools and compliant with HIPAA security rules.

4. Meaningful Use teams

The Stage 2 criteria are stricter so it may be worth setting aside a team of staffers just for the sake of making sure your facility is up to snuff. Kaiser Permanente built a team to address the business, legal and IT issues of meeting Stage 2 measures and requirements. Since stage 2 is so difficult to meet, and stage 3 will likely be even tougher, it makes sense to have a team of Meaningful Use experts to handle the transitions.

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