What does “meaningful use” mean and why is it important? When it comes to health information technology, Meaningful Use is the minimum government standards in the U.S. for the use of certified electronic health records (EHRs). It also defines how a patient’s clinical information gets shared and exchanged by providers, insurance companies, and patients.
INCENTIVES COME WITH IMPROVING HEALTHCARE EXPERIENCES
For qualification of incentives available for this initiative, eligible professionals and hospitals must show Meaningful Use in regard to their EHRs. When practices and professionals show Meaningful Use, they qualify to receive a monetary incentive from the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program which the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) run.
A provider or practice needs to adopt, implement, or upgrade to a certified EHR to receive payment from the state. Showing Meaningful Use was not expected the first year of EHR implementation. CMS sets it up so you have time to work up to Meaningful Use with the help of other resources and services available to healthcare providers.
THREE STAGES OVER FIVE YEARS
EHR technology must be certified and used in particular ways that help the eligible professionals and hospitals reach specific goals. Since meeting the Meaningful Use criteria is unnecessary to fulfil all at one time, over five years there are three stages designed for the providers to demonstrate and fulfill the requirements.
Stage 1: Rules necessary for electronic data capture established
Stage 2: Using certified EHR technology (CEHRT) so that point of care and transferring formatted information improves.
Stage 3: Utilizing CEHRT for better health results.
OBJECTIVES TO MEET FOR QUALIFICATION
There are some precise objectives that organizations and professionals need to meet to qualify for incentive payments. The requirements vary depending on if you are a practice, a professional, or an institution. Some criteria include meeting:
• 14 – 15 core objectives
• At least 5 of 10 set objectives
• 6 – 15 clinical quality measures
The ongoing goal of the entire healthcare system is to improve in the areas of quality, efficiency, and safety. Part of this continual process to reach those aims is getting health professionals and practices to meet the Meaningful Use requirements to practice the improved standards. With compliance, the whole healthcare experience becomes better and beneficial for everyone involved, with benefits for both patients and providers.
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