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Meaningful Use compliance: How to ensure your EMR is prepared for Stage 2 and beyond

By: Nextech | August 5th, 2015

Meaningful Use compliance: How to ensure your EMR is prepared for Stage 2 and beyond Blog Feature

When Meaningful Use began for eligible professionals (EP’s) back in 2011, the physicians who chose to participate in the government program rushed to implement electronic medical record solutions in order to meet Stage 1 requirements and receive the maximum incentive payments. 

Fast forward to 2015 and now many physicians are in the midst of attesting to Stage 2 requirements, and the honeymoon period is quickly ending.

According to the American Medical Association, the number of physicians experiencing success in their Meaningful Use endeavors has declined with each passing year and less than 10 percent of physicians were able to meet Stage 2 requirements in 2014. This will unfortunately result in more than 250,000 physicians receiving a penalty this year due to lack of compliance to the Meaningful Use program.

So where is the lack of compliance stemming from?

The base EMR solutions physicians implemented back at the start of Meaningful Use were designed to help doctors digitize patient records and attest to Meaningful Use Stage 1. However, those same solutions are not adequately built for physicians to attest to the required measurements in Stage 2 and Stage 3 and this is leaving many clinics frustrated and dealing with growing penalties.

RELATED: Meaningful Use audits: Preparation is the name of the game

How can your practice avoid falling into these same frustrations and issues?

Here are three things to look for in your EMR solution to ensure your practice’s Meaningful Use attestation capabilities.

  1. Designed with the future in mind – It’s one thing to be able to digitize patient record, but Meaningful Use is more than that. For your practice, make sure your EMR solution is built to help you meet requirements beyond Stage 1 such as patient portal engagement, PQRS and interoperability with other EMR’s.
  2. Easy to use – If your practice is utilizing an EMR that’s tough to navigate, click-heavy and generally frustrating, attestation to Meaningful Use will likely render the same experience. The key is simplicity and accessibility. Your EMR solution should allow for easy access to all of the relevant information your practice needs and the ability to quickly gather all of the reporting information needed to attest. Attesting to Meaningful Use is often thought of as a stressful practice, but it shouldn’t be, especially with the right EMR solution.
  3. Helpful support – Similarly to an EMR’s ease of use, the vendor’s quality of day-to-day support should be another good indicator of the quality of support when it comes to Meaningful Use. Ideally, your practice needs a knowledgeable, and most importantly, a responsive support team for your government compliance issues because your practice won’t have the luxury of waiting days for a response in the middle of attestation. In addition to vendor support, it’s also important that your EMR vendor provides you with supplemental educational materials that will help teach your practice everything you need to know in regard to Meaningful Use and its various stages.

By observing these three aspects, your practice save a lot of time and headaches when it comes to attesting to all three stages of Meaningful Use.