Meaningful Use Stage 3 comments period opens with an emphasis on patient engagement

The proposed provisions of Meaningful Use Stage 3 that have been released for public comment advance patient engagement in several key areas, according to Eva Powell, Director of Health IT Programs, National Partnership for Women and Families.

Powell, speaking at Nov. 27 webinar sponsored by the eHealth Initiative, said that patients and caregivers "want to be more engaged" but that the current health care system is not set up to be welcoming for that. "That won't be solved by health IT, but health IT when done well can be a tool to be more engaged," she pointed out.

Stage 3 advances consumer involvement in their care in several important areas, Powell noted, including:

  • Patient input for reconciliation of the medical record
  • A move toward real-time availability of information to patients and caregivers
  • Submission of patient-generated information
  • Recording the caregiver name, contact information and role in the patient's care
  • Closing the loop on referrals and transfers of care.

However, Stage 3 still leaves gaps in key areas, including disparities in care, the availability of the content of advance directives, and including caregivers in "closing the loop."

ONC's Health IT Policy Committee's request for public comment on the potential stage 3 requirements, published in the Federal Register this week, are due January 14, 2013.

"Think of this as a last great opportunity to include the requirements for the incentive program [and] how can we be creative without adding burdens on anyone," she suggested.

Other consumer representatives have been advocating for increased patient engagement in the meaningful use incentive program, including faster access to their records and the ability to correct errors.

In a Health IT Buzz blog post, Jodi G. Daniel, director of the office of policy and planning, reiterated message that the next phase of the incentive program will shift focus from implementation to a "collaborative, patient and family centric approach."  

ONC's Health Information Technology Policy Committee's Stage 3 recommendations "target a collaborative model of care with shared responsibility and accountability, and build upon previous meaningful use objectives," she wrote. 

To learn more:
- here's the request for comments
- read the Health IT Buzz blog post