Most hospitals have tools to meet Meaningful Use Stage 2 now

More than two-thirds of U.S. hospitals have bought technology from a vendor certified to the 2014 Edition certification criteria, according to a newly published report from HIMSS Analytics, meaning that many hospitals already have the tools they need to meet Meaningful Use Stage 2 at their disposal.

The report, which used data from 418 hospitals collected through the first six months of 2013, also found that 70 percent of respondents are "actively moving toward meeting Meaningful Use Stage 2" mandates, while 60 percent have met the requirements for at least nine core metrics in Stage 2.

"Despite low current readiness rates to achieve metrics such as providing patient electronic access, providing summary of care records for all transitions/referrals and the use of clinical decision support technology to improve performance on high-priority health conditions, there is substantial activity planned for the future," the report's authors wrote. "These results suggest that the industry is moving forward toward Stage 2 Meaningful Use and hospitals will be ready to begin attesting in 2014."

The report's authors also suggested that, should a recommended six-month extension to the Meaningful Use timeline for Year 1 be granted, hospitals will have all the time they need to attest to Stage 2. "[I]t is … important to recognize the benefit of an extra six months," HIMSS Analytics Executive Vice President John Hoyt said in a statement.

Among other groups calling for an extension of the attestation time period is the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives. In May, CHIME CEO Russell Branzell, in response to a call from GOP senators to reboot the Meaningful Use program entirely, said that an extension would be "vital" for providers, vendors and policymakers to ensure success in Stage 3.

The American College of Physicians last week also requested an extension of at least one year, with ACP Medical Informatics Committee Chair Peter Basch calling the current timeline "very aggressive."

To learn more:
- here's the HIMSS Analytics announcement
- download the report (registration required)