What's the Latest Progress with Meaningful Use?
This is a big year for the healthcare world and with the requirements for Meaningful Use scheduled to shift from focusing on initial adoption to focusing on more common use, many people are taking this opportunity to take stock and plan their next moves.
Electronic healthcare records (EHRs) and clinical decision support tools (such as YouScript®) saw widespread adoption in 2013 as many providers sought to meet the March 31, 2014 Meaningful Use Stage 1 deadline. Here are the numbers:
As of the end of 2013, 90% of eligible hospitals and roughly 60% of Medicare- and Medicaid-eligible professionals had committed to an EHR; roughly 441,000 eligible hospitals and professionals had registered for meaningful use; and over 334,000 have received financial incentives for successfully meeting meaningful use requirements.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services also released more detailed data on what specific requirements and objectives professionals had been hitting. In particular, as of 2013:
- 97.7% of eligible professionals provided electronic copies of health information;
- 83.5% of eligible hospitals maintained a computerized provider order entry system;
- 97.2% of professionals and 98% of hospitals kept an active patient medication list;
- 96.6% of professionals and 98.1% of hospitals maintained a medication allergy list; and
- 92.6% provided active medication reconciliation lists
As we move into 2014, the requirements for meaningful use are changing. Stage 2 focuses on: more rigorous health information exchange; increased requirements for e-prescribing and incorporating lab results; electronic transmission of patient care summaries across multiple settings; and more patient-controlled data. About 20% of physicians who participated in meaningful use had already adopted some of the Stage 2 objectives. Overall payment amounts change based on which year providers start implementing these changes, so early adoption is in the provider’s benefit.
However, there have been concerns about the program’s structure, particularly the complexity of the requirements and the responsibilities of EHR vendors. Some vendors have been slow to test their EHR systems for Stage 2 use, which can delay implementation. Providers are hoping that they can push for more flexibility; otherwise some physicians might need to drop out of the program. It will be interesting to see where the industry falls in the coming year.
Stage 3 meaningful use requirements will take effect in 2016 and focus on improved outcomes.