On 23rd August, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT released the final requirements for EHR Meaningful Use (MU) Stage 2 that health care providers must meet in order to qualify for EHR incentives. One of the main focus areas is the new requirements and enhanced standards for exchanging information. These rules are a true game changer in advancing interoperability between providers and patients. The goal of these rules is to improve patient outcomes by providing right information at the point of care. Highlights of improved/changed interoperability rules:
- Provide summary of care document for transitions of care and referrals
- Provide online access to health information to patients with more than 5% of patients actually accessing the information
- Transmit structured electronic lab/image results to ambulatory providers
- Use secure messaging with patients
- A major one – use of data portability standards. Standards for coding structured data that is sent in the summary of care documents or other documents. Not only these standards will reduce errors but also will accelerate the use of analytics and secondary uses of the data.
- Transmission of information to cancer registries
For the first time rules also have mentioned Clinical Quality Measures (CQMs) in relationship with MU even though reporting CQMs is not part of the core objectives. Now all providers are required to report on CQMs in order to demonstrate meaningful use and CMS is committing to align quality measurement and reporting among programs, including Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting Program, PQRS, CHIPRA, and ACO Programs. The alignment will enable providers to submit the same measure data to different programs.