ONC workgroup jumps into Meaningful Use Stage 3 development

Some major challenges remain in the move to the third stage of Meaningful Use, according the Office of the National Coordinator's (ONC) Health IT Policy Committee Meaningful Use Workgroup, which presented at the committee's monthly meeting Nov. 9.

The workgroup has started developing Stage 3, which will focus on using a flexible adaptive platform, alignment with emerging payment policies from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and supporting innovative approaches to using health information technology to improve care. According to the workgroup, one of the focus areas for Stage 3 is to leverage tools to support health, such as real-time information at the point of care.

Concern was expressed that while measuring quality and performance is a good thing, the current clinical quality measures and the process for extracting them in Stage 1 takes a lot of time and money--up to 75 percent of the cost of meeting Meaningful Use. The workgroup also found other problems with the current measures, including volume, unclear definitions, and lack of alignment with other CMS quality measures. The workgroup suggested that there be more of a focus on the outcomes, as opposed to the measurements themselves.

Other major challenges the workgroup sees in moving to Stage 3 include patient engagement, exchange of health information, and application of Meaningful Use to specialists. It plans on holding small group meetings to review and gather information, then soliciting information from the public in the spring of 2012. Final recommendations on Stage 3 would be submitted to CMS and ONC by the middle of next year.  

To learn more:
- listen to the meeting and review the written materials
- read this Healthcare IT News article