What You Need to Know About Meaningful Use

by | Jan 15, 2015 | Electronic Health Records, Meaningful Use

What You Need to Know About Meaningful Use

“Meaningful Use” refers to the use of electronic health records (EHR) throughout the healthcare industry to provide patients with better quality, more coordinated care. There are numerous electronic systems available that healthcare professionals and hospitals can choose to implement into their practice with some being much more user-friendly and comprehensive than others. Many of these facilities that make the transition to an EHR system do so according to the guidelines required to qualify for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Incentive Programs.

Stages of Meaningful Use

To qualify for EHR incentive payment, the healthcare provider must show that they are using their electronic health records to meet thresholds for a number of specified objectives. These are set up in three stages, each with increasing requirements to be met during the period of that phase. In order to receive the incentive payment, the provider must demonstrate meaningful use each year.

Stage 1 of meaningful uses focuses on data capture and sharing in a standardized format. This information is used for tracking key clinical conditions and using the data for coordinating care. During stage 1, patients and their families will begin to take a more active role in their health care.

Stage 2 of meaningful use focuses on advanced clinical process, including more rigorous health information exchange. Requirements for e-prescribing and incorporation lab results as well as transmission of patient care summaries will be made electronically across multiple settings.

Stage 3 of meaningful use focuses on improving outcomes by making healthcare safer and higher quality. Support for those with high-priority conditions and providing patients with self-management tools will contribute to the increase in patient data through the health information exchange.

Benefits of EHR

While the apparent financial benefits of EHRs for medical care facilities are obviously from the Meaningful Use incentive programs, there are many additional benefits that come from meeting the thresholds outlined in each stage of the program. Increasing the ability to share patient information across all channels and have the ability to bring up a patients entire medical record in a matter of seconds gives doctors better tools for diagnosing and treating patients without the risk of ordering repeat tests or over-prescribing medications. At the end of the third stage, there will be much greater coordination of care between the primary care physician, specialists, pharmacists and other types of care givers contributing to each patient’s treatment.

Another way that Meaningful Use will help healthcare providers financially is by making their practice more efficient. Eliminating repeat tests and unnecessary diagnostics and treatments will time and money while still providing patients with a higher quality of care.  Patients will also have access to their medical information and play a greater part in their healthcare so they know what is being done to treat them at all times.

Once Meaningful Use is fully implemented, all of the medical information of a patient will be instantly available to healthcare providers, even when they are seeing a patient for the first time. They will be aware of any allergies, previous injuries or conditions, and the medications the person is currently taking. The world of digital technology is increasingly becoming the standard method of sharing information to give patients the best possible care.

If you have questions about Meaningful Use or to see if you qualify please contact the Medical Billing professionals at Medical Healthcare Solutions.

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