Meaningful Use work group: Patient requirement for e-messaging too high

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's HIT Policy Committee Meaningful Use work group agrees with many, but not all, of the recommendations for Stage 2 of Meaningful Use contained in the proposed rules, issued March 7. In documents released at its meeting April 2, the work group noted that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services incorporated many of the Committee's recommendations into the proposed rule.

However, it also noted that some provisions, such as CMS' proposal on advance directives--which would require that at least 50 percent of patients 65 or older have an indication of an advance directive status recorded--don't go far enough. Attendees agreed that they would rather this be a menu requirement, and a core requirement for Stage 3.

Other provisions in the proposed rule are too ambitious, according to the work group. For example, the requirements for the electronic submission of data to public health agencies probably are beyond the agency's current capabilities. The work group also believes that the requirement that at least 10 percent of patients receive secure electronic messages is too high.

Other arms of the ONC are analyzing the proposed rules, as well. ONC's Tiger Team is comparing the rules and readying recommendations for the Health IT Policy Committee.

Such groups don't set rules, noted Deven McGraw, chair of the Tiger Team, speaking at last week's National HIPAA Summit. However, their recommendations carry considerable weight within the agency.

"Our job is to advise ONC. But we feel we have a bully pulpit," she said.

To learn more:
- read the actual working draft of the recommendations
- learn more about the work group

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