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How to Make Sure Your EHR ‘Use’ Is ‘Meaningful’



The crowd at the AOA Optometry’s Meeting press conference for the launch of Eyefinity EHR demonstrates the growing interest in the topic among ODs.
The Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs provide financial incentives for the Meaningful Use of certified EHR technology to improve patient care. To receive an EHR incentive payment, providers have to show that they are “meaningfully using” their EHRs by meeting thresholds for a number of objectives. CMS has established the objectives for Meaningful Use that eligible professionals must meet in order to receive an incentive payment.

The Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs are staged in three steps with increasing requirements for participation. All providers begin participating by meeting the Stage 1 requirements for a 90-day period in their first year of Meaningful Use and a full year in their second year of Meaningful Use. After meeting the Stage 1 requirements, providers will then have to meet Stage 2 requirements for two full years.

Meaningful Use Stage 1 includes both a core set and a menu set of objectives. For eligible professionals, there are a total of 25 Meaningful Use objectives. To qualify for an incentive payment, 20 must be met—15 required core objectives and five objectives chosen from a list of 10 menu set objectives.

Meaningful Use Stage 1, implemented in 2011-2012, was created to allow for data capture and sharing, while Stage 2, to become effective in 2014, is designed to advance the clinical process. After that, Stage 3, coming in 2016, is still being finalized. Its goal is to improve patient outcomes.

More information can be found on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) website at ■