The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently announced that stage 3 of the meaningful use program will be published. Since 2009, the organization has been working toward streamlining and advancing electronic health records with help from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.
Meaningful use incentives have funneled billions of dollars into the advancement of health IT in the U.S., and in many ways, brought the U.S. health care system into the 21st century. However, there are certain challenges that specialists will need to be aware of, especially since stage 3 will deal with a lot of these pain points in particular.
If you need some guidance on how stage 3 will affect your specialty practice, read below:
"Stage 3 will deal with many specialist pain points."
1. Stage 3 is taking it up a notch: All providers will need to be efficient while implementing stage 3 guidelines, as the timelines for implementation have become more aggressive. By 2018, all providers will need to demonstrate stage 3, regardless of what stage they are currently in. Considering the extra nuances that specialists must tackle in their medical software, now is the time to begin looking to complete these measures.
2. More flexibility: One of the biggest complaints with stages 1 and 2 is that the program is too broad and doesn't cater to specifics needed in specialty practices. There are signs that the CMS has taken some action on this. According to Medical Practice Insider, the CMS could lower or possibly eliminate some measures "that are duplicative, redundant or unnecessary" for specialists.
3. Issues with reporting: Another problem cited with stages 1 and 2 was frustrations with reporting. The CMS is showing signs that it will become more flexible with this, as it seeks to eliminate the previous 90-day reporting period. It is also offering more holistic integration with clinical data registries and integrated health exchanges so that specialists can get a better handle on reporting measures.
4. A switch from 'big box' EHRs: Medical Practice Insider also pointed out that solutions in stage 3 are more specific and tailored, which can give specialty practices the tools they need to advance analytics and ensure care quality. Because patient needs are incredibly varied in a specialty practice, moving toward EHR templates for certain conditions is an excellent way to meet these stage 3 guidelines.
5. Specialty practices can look to vendors for help: Stage 3 has also widened the path for specialized EHR vendors to help practices meet the demands of stage 3. According to HIT Consultant, some of the "clinical burden" of administrative work can now be funneled to your technology vendor. In the past, specialists had a particularly hard time with clinical decision support and other administrative issues. However, with Intelligent Medical Software (IMS), providers can worry less about meeting interoperability standards or future development, because all these requirements are already built into the platform.
With stage 3 inching closer on the calendar, now is the time for specialists to get the support they need from IMS. Not only will it ease reporting worries, but it will also free up more face-to-face time with your patients.