Wednesday, August 29, 2012

CMS Releases Final Stage 2 Meaningful Use Rules

Well folks, it’s final.  HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released the final rule for Stage 2 Meaningful Use last Thursday.  In fact there were two final rules released; along with Stage 2 Meaningful Use criteria for eligible physicians and hospitals, a companion final rule was released for medical software developers by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology as a guide to the design and certification of electronic health record systems.

A press release confirmed that Stage 2 will begin in 2014, assuring eligible professionals that no one would be required to meet Stage 2 criteria until 2014, regardless of when they attested Stage 1.  The release of Stage 1 focused teaching eligible professionals how to capture data electronically.  Stage 2 emphasizes more on the exchange of captured data between other healthcare providers and allowing patients to access their medical records online.  Two new core objectives were added:  eligible providers must use secure electronic messaging to communicate with patients and eligible hospitals must track medications from order to administration automatically via assisting technologies with an eMAR. 

ONC’s final rule regarding EHR medical software focused on Certified EHR Technology definitions, interoperability and security.  According to the press release, eligible providers will be able to use their 2011 edition Certified EHR Technology until 2014.  Certified EHRs will need focus on encryption of data if it is stored in an end-user device and allow patients the ability to securely view their medical information and communicate with their physician.   Standards for transitions of care and referral summaries for the transmission to be viewed and downloaded by other healthcare providers must be met.  A common interface standard for the exchange of test results between the lab, providers and hospitals was also a new certification criterion adopted for 2014.  

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