Impact of Meaningful Use Stage 2 will be far-reaching

Now that the dust has settled from the announcement Meaningful Use Stage 2, various healthcare professionals, bloggers and vendors, by now, all have weighed in with their take on the proposed rule. While some feel that patients could benefit from Stage 2 requirements, others talked about benefits from a provider standpoint.

Let's review a few of those opinions.

Improved patient access: ZDNet Health blogger Denise Amrich, R.N., focused on how Stage 2 will affect patients, saying that overall, it was "tweaked, not revolutionary."

"If Stage 2 criteria were a phone, it'd be less like the iPhone 5 people were expecting, and more like the upgraded iPhone 4S they wound up with," Amrich said.

She says that the requirement to provide patients with timely, online access to their information will be boon, especially given that financial records have been accessible online for a while. Amrich added that an appeals process for mischarted information eventually should be added to Meaningful Use but said that she "won't be holding my breath until that shows up."

Focus on interoperability and exchange: In an interview with Government Health IT, American Academy of Family Physicians Director Steven Waldren, M.D., lauded the proposed rule's focus on interoperability and exchange, as well as the consolidation of some of the measures.

"[T]he notion of not having to report separately on updated problem, medication and allergy lists because those are required for a summary of care exchange ... We like that administrative simplification," Waldren said.

He said that he was surprised by the moving forward of the Stage 1 in the 2014 time frame but understood the spirit behind the move of making things easier.

Waldren added, though, that a drawback to Meaningful Use is that "there is not a lever for those organizations that are not participating to accept the data or submit data to them." He specifically pointed out lab companies as being in that realm.

Imaging recognized: The American College of Radiology was pleased that Stage 2 addressed several concerns of imaging professionals, Health Imaging reported. Some of the recommendations incorporated into the proposed rules by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT included:

  • A menu set measure for diagnostic image accessibility from through certified electronic health record technology
  • Clinical quality measures relevant to radiology
  • More flexibility on defining encounters

"We are encouraged by early indications from the agencies that many of ACR's various 'asks' have apparently been included to a certain degree," said Keith Dreyer, M.D., chair of the ACR's IT and Informatics Committee-Government Relations Subcommittee, according to Health Imaging.

Additionally, Ashish Jha of the Health Affairs Blog pointed out that the computerized provider order entry requirements, which he already believed to be "arguably the most difficult but potentially the most important EHR functionality," are now even more demanding. He also highlighted that health information exchange has moved from the "can-do-it" phase to the "did-do-it" phase.

For more:
- here's the ZDNet Health piece
- check out the Government Health IT interview
- read the Health Imaging article
- read the Health Affairs Blog post

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