Mark and I have written in the past year about the concept of “meaningful use” associated with EHR funding in the US and the open and transparent process by which “meaningful use” is being defined. At the very end of last year (still hard to remember that it is now 2010), two documents were posted that, among other things, offer an initial definition of “meaningful use” and describe the process by which the definition was conceived:
Three stages of meaningful use are specified:
- Stage 1 (beginning in 2011): The proposed Stage 1 meaningful use criteria “focuses on electronically capturing health information in a coded format; using that information to track key clinical conditions and communicating that information for care coordination purposes (whether that information is structured or unstructured, but in structured format whenever feasible); consistent with other provisions of Medicare and Medicaid law, implementing clinical decision support tools to facilitate disease and medication management; and reporting clinical quality measures and public health information.”
- Stage 2 (beginning in 2013): CMS has proposed that its goals for the Stage 2 meaningful use criteria, “consistent with other provisions of Medicare and Medicaid law, expand upon the Stage 1 criteria to encourage the use of health IT for continuous quality improvement at the point of care and the exchange of information in the most structured format possible, such as the electronic transmission of orders entered using computerized provider order entry (CPOE) and the electronic transmission of diagnostic test results (such as blood tests, microbiology, urinalysis, pathology tests, radiology, cardiac imaging, nuclear medicine tests, pulmonary function tests and other such data needed to diagnose and treat disease). Additionally we may consider applying the criteria more broadly to both the inpatient and outpatient hospital settings.”
- Stage 3 (beginning in 2015): CMS has proposed that its goals for the Stage 3 meaningful use criteria are, “consistent with other provisions of Medicare and Medicaid law, to focus on promoting improvements in quality, safety and efficiency, focusing on decision support for national high priority conditions, patient access to self management tools, access to comprehensive patient data and improving population health.”
The rules in which the meaningful use criteria are incorporated will be published in the Federal Register by mid January and will be subject to a 60-day comment period effective. The interim final rule will become effective 30 days after publication.