January 1, 2014 marks the beginning of the reporting period for Meaningful Use Stage 2. Are you ready?
The Meaningful Use program can feel daunting because of its size and scope. Hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) need to demonstrate achievement of 19 total objectives, many of which are dependent on the participation and commitment of your entire staff. Failure to comply by the deadline can result in hefty penalties.
It is helpful to remember that the overall goals of the Meaningful Use are to modernize medical record keeping and to provide patients with more power and control over their records and health history. Crossing the digital divide is a large and detailed challenge. However, with the implementation of the following tips, transitioning to compliance can be smooth and painless.
Best Practices for a Successful Transition
- If you haven’t started yet, do so now. Begin by registering right away: https://ehrincentives.cms.gov/hitech/login.action
- Designate a Meaningful Use manager or lead who will be responsible for navigating the progress and maintaining open communications with staff and vendors so that feedback from all sides can be heard.
- Invest carefully in the necessary technology. Choose the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system that works best for your facility, area of practice, and method of practice. You may also need to upgrade your hardware. This can be a costly proposition, which is why registration for the EHR incentives is so important.
- Use a Meaningful Use dashboard that enables you to track your progress as you move into compliance. The EMR you select may incorporate this feature.
- Make sure that physicians and staff have the appropriate training to help them utilize the new systems and machines. Vendors may provide this training. Federal and state offices may also offer training sessions locally or via the Internet. And by working with 1st Solution USA you can hire staff who are experts in EMR conversion, project management, computerized physician order entry, and so much more.
- Support physician-directed implementation. Make sure that the system meets their needs, rather than imposing a challenge or obstacle. Encourage IT professionals to work cooperatively with healthcare providers to maximize success. 1st Solution USA has the connections to help you find the right IT staff to help your office or facility convert painlessly so you can claim your incentive rewards.
- Implement in stages. Create a timeline so that the transition isn’t overnight. Allow for training, test periods, and backup. Ensure that your staff is committed to the process by supporting their ability to learn a new system.
- Set up a patient portal as early as possible. This is required in Stage 2 MU and creates time saving efficiencies for patients and physicians.
- Be aware of the requirements of the Clinical Quality Measures (CQMs) that are required in Stage 2. Many will be useful and relevant to your practice. Eligible professionals (EPs) need to report on 9 out of 64 CQMs. Eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals need to report on 16 out of 29.
- Perform self-audits to analyze areas where your compliance is not yet complete. Refocus your efforts on deficient areas.
- Consider individual incentives for physicians and administrative staff for early and consistent use of the new EMR system. Recognition and/or rewards can help motivate staff to buy-in to the new automation system.
If you need help meeting the requirements of Stage 2 Meaningful Use, get in touch today. Our skilled Healthcare Information Technology professionals are ready to work for you!