The government’s financial incentive program promoting the Meaningful Use of Electronic Medical Records (EMR) is not just a ruse. By the end of 2011, CMS had already paid over $2.85 billion to providers and various healthcare bodies on meeting the Meaningful Use (MU) stage 1 requirement. According to official reports, the incentive figures for Medicare program touched $1.38 billion, while for the Medicaid program it was estimated to be $1.15 billion.
However, the introduction of MU stage 2 requirements has raised some concerns amongst physicians. This is one of the major reasons why various health IT consultants believe that with the MU stage 2 requirements, it wouldn’t be too easy to picture a much faster rate of EMR adoption amongst providers, during the next few years.
The MU stage 2 requirements are not solely limited to the stage 1 requirements. Apart from ensuring providers’ capabilities of using electronic medical records in a productive manner and delivering better care quality, the requirements are extended to having electronic data sharing, clinical decision support, and more importantly, patient engagement.
Considering the emphasis on the need of information exchange, it would not be difficult to establish that presently, Health Information Exchange (HIE) is the most important concern. However, one of the apprehensions that physicians have is that they believe their EMRs are just not capable to conform to the interoperability requirements of MU stage 2. Accordingly, meeting the expectation of CMS requires addressing the issues for lack of technological capabilities within EMRs.
The government never failed to understand that the care continuum would be incomplete without incorporating the patients within it. This is why two of the core objectives of MU stage 2 requirements are solely dedicated to increase patient engagement ’ ultimately enhancing patient safety. These objectives are concerned with ensuring patient education and allowing patients to access their health records. Of course, patients would be the happiest of all to have known about such a measure.
Having known the MU stage 2 requirements, physicians are trying to ensure compliance with it as soon as possible. After all, they wouldn’t want to let go of thousands of dollars that are dedicated to financial incentives. Many physicians are certain that the MU stage 3 would bring more surprises with it.
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