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What is Meaningful Use of EHR?

April 13, 2020 - by Parul Saini, Webmedy team


The U.S. administration originated the Meaningful Use plan as a component of the 2009 Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, to support health care providers to prove "meaningful use" of certified Electronic Health Record (EHR). In performing so, qualified providers who do so get incentive payments.

But why this plan, and what is Meaningful Use? The overall purpose of the Meaningful Use program is to encourage the broad selection of electronic health records systems, eventually building an infrastructure that enhances the quality, security, and effectiveness of patient care in the United States.

What is Meaningful Use?

To pass for Meaningful Use incentive payments, qualified providers must not only select an EHR but also point that they are "meaningfully using" their EHR by meeting several goals intended to have a real influence on patient care. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) should set these measures as a component of its purpose to improve health care IT in the U.S.

Meaningful Use was determined by the adoption of certified EHR technology in a meaningful way (for example electronic prescribing); assuring that the certified EHR technology combines in a manner that fits for the electronic exchange of health information to enhance the quality of care. By using certified EHR technology, the provider must obey to the Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS) information on the quality of care and other measures. The concept of meaningful use held on the five pillars of health outcomes policy preferences, namely:

  • Promoting quality, safety, effectiveness, and decreasing health disparities.
  • Involve patients and families in their health.
  • Promote care coordination.
  • Better population and public health.
  • Assure adequate privacy and safety protection for personal health information.

Because electronic health records can enhance patient care results, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has awarded financial motivation plans to providers to embrace EHR use. As per the CDC, incentive amounts range from $44,000 over five years for Medicare providers and $63,750 over six years for Medicaid providers. The CDC also shows that while the incentive programs are optional, qualified providers and hospitals may encounter modifications in their Medicare/Medicaid fees.

Then what does this imply for healthcare providers? Providers must show that they are meaningfully utilizing EHRs to reach specific goals set forth by CMS. They are divided into three stages. The goals are explained in detail on the CMS website and include elements such as computerized provider order entry (CPOE), allergy checks, and e-prescribing. Providers must satisfy all the focus aims to receive payments.

Stages of Meaningful Use

  • Stage 1 (2011-2012): Data capturing and distributing
  • Stage 2 (2014): Improved clinical processes
  • Stage 3 (2016): Refined outcomes

Benefits of Meaningful Use

  • Full and detailed information: Caregivers have entrance to the data they want at their fingertips, to diagnose queries and present the most valid possible care.
  • Enhanced coordination of care: Data can be received immediately over care centers, including doctor offices, clinics, and health systems, beginning to greater care coordination.
  • Patient engagement: With the capacity to get their medical information electronically and give it securely across the Internet, patients can get a more productive role in their health care and that of their families.
  • Enhanced patient safety: Immediate electronic way to information about medicines, allergies, limitations and treatment history can hugely decrease the chance of medical errors.
  • Healthier patient populations and societies: Basic data about illnesses and results obtained at the point of care becomes accessible to other health experts locally, regionally and globally.

Providers who show meaningful use of an EHR can receive benefits that reach far beyond incentive payments. Not only do participating providers inspire and participate in a continuous interchange of health information, but they also allow the transfer of greater quality patient care, starting to better results at a lower cost. This is a real benefit for the whole care community.

How much is the incentive?

Single physicians and other qualified health care specialists can get up to $44,000 by the Medicare Meaningful Use plan or up to $63,750 by the Medicaid Meaningful Use program, depending upon when they start attesting to the program's terms.

Penalty for not showing Meaningful Use

The HITECH Act gives that, starting in 2015, qualified providers not showing significant use of certified EHR technology will get less than 100 percent of their Medicare fee program for their professional duties. Regarding this future revenue penalty, current incentive payments and the effective distribution of information that Meaningful Use advances, it is broadly recognized that now is the moment to discover the best EHR solution for your workflow requirements and to start (or renew) joining in the Meaningful Use program.

Of all the advantages of Meaningful Use, the overall purpose of the plan is that it promotes a more reliable, more effective way to practice medicine.

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