ONC releases Stage 2 patient electronic access guidance

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT continues to support health information exchange in Stage 2 of the Meaningful Use program, unveiling its second guide for health information organizations this week, this one on patient electronic access measures.

The nine-page document--touted in a Health IT Buzz blog post by Lee Stevens, Policy Director of ONC's state HIE program and Erica Galvez, its Committee of Practice Director--expands the advice to HIOs on how to support the three patient electronic access measures in Stage 2 of Meaningful Use for achieving interoperability. It reviews the objectives, measures and certification requirements, provides options for calculating the measures, and addresses additional concerns, such as providing access to adolescent patient records.

The guide also addresses what information the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services may require if an eligible professional is audited.  

"The new patient electronic access requirements [View-Download-Transmit and patient secure messaging] under Meaningful Use Stage 2 represent a transformative step forward for health information exchange and interoperability," Stevens and Galvez state in their blog post. "When they take effect in January 2014, patients all over the country will find themselves newly empowered with access to their health data."

This is the second "deep dive" guide that ONC has issued to HIOs to help them support Stage 2 of Meaningful Use. The first guide--on transitions of care--was released in May.

Patient engagement is one of the most important facets of the Meaningful Use program. ONC has previously issued a training module on patient and family engagement interoperability. The agency in its blog post recommends that the new guide be used in conjunction with that training module.

To learn more:
- here's the guide (.pdf)
- read the blog post