In recognition that the transition to EMRs might take a while, CMS is proposing a phase-in of three stages. The first stage of meaningful use criteria focuses on electronically capturing health information in a coded format, using that information to track key clinical conditions and communicating that information for care coordination purposes. It also calls for implementing clinical decision support tools to facilitate disease and medication management and reporting clinical quality measures and public health information. In order for professionals and hospitals to be eligible to receive payments under the incentive programs, provided through the Recovery Act, they must be able to demonstrate meaningful use of a certified EHR system. The following list of Stage 1 Meaningful Use criteria for eligible providers was taken from the proposed rule: “Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Electronic Health Record Incentive Program.”
 Objective: Use CPOE
Measure: CPOE is used for at least 80 percent of all orders
 Objective: Implement drug-drug, drug-allergy, drug- formulary checks
Measure: The EP has enabled this functionality
 Objective: Maintain an up-to-date problem list of current and active diagnoses based on ICD-9-CM or SNOMED CT®
Measure: At least 80 percent of all unique patients seen by the EP have at least one entry or an indication of none recorded as structured data.
 Objective: Generate and transmit permissible prescriptions electronically (eRx).
Measure: At least 75 percent of all permissible prescriptions written by the EP are transmitted electronically using certified EHR technology.
 Objective: Maintain active medication list.
Measure: At least 80 percent of all unique patients seen by the EP have at least one entry (or an indication of “none” if the patient is not currently prescribed any medication) recorded as structured data.
For the complete list or 25 provider and 25 hospital requirements, continue at Healthcare IT News.
Dec. 31 — Federal health officials said Wednesday they have cut billions of dollars from the projected cost of a program to push doctors and hospitals to use electronic medical records, suggesting their previous estimates overstated the number of health care providers likely to adopt the technology, according to The Huffington Post.
Under the proposal, doctors and hospitals that keep updated electronic medical records of their patients could still receive bonus payments for using the software. Officials for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services stressed to reporters on a conference call that the proposal is preliminary and won’t be finalized until next spring. The agency will take comments on Wednesday’s proposal for 60 days before beginning work on final guidelines.
Among the proposals to qualify for “meaningful use,” health care professionals who use electronic records for 80 percent of their medical instructions could receive bonus payments. They also would have to provide patients with printouts of their medical history and use computers to check for potential drug interactions. Hospitals would have to complete 10 percent of their orders electronically.
The Wall Street Journal laid out more details of how providers might receive those bonuses: File prescriptions and submit insurance claims electronically; give patients electronic access to their health information; use computerized systems to enter at least some of doctors’ and nurses’ orders; track patients’ medications electronically; and record vital signs and lab test results electronically.
Sharing electronic information between different medical practices and hospitals isn’t something that happens very often; the meaningful use guidelines seem to recognize this. When the program kicks in, in fiscal year 2011, doctors and hospitals only need to say that they “performed at least one test” of their system’s ability to “electronically exchange key clinical information.”
If you’d like to read the document released by the feds that spells out all of the “meaningful use” proposals, it’s only 556 pages.