EHR Incentive Programs: Moving into the Next Stage
By Elizabeth Holland
This week, industry leaders from all over the country gather for the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society conference and discuss the future of health information technology implementation, and we at CMS are pleased to report updates on our efforts to promote and support the meaningful use of electronic health record (EHR) technology in health care.
Growing EHR Adoption and Meaningful Use
In January, we passed the 210,000 mark for the total number of providers, including nearly 200,000 eligible professionals, who received a Medicaid or Medicare incentive payment for successfully adopting, implementing, or upgrading or meeting meaningful use of EHR technology.
Nearly 73% of all eligible hospitals in the country have received an EHR incentive payment for either meeting MU, or fulfilling the requirements for AIU of a certified system.
Meanwhile, about 1 of every 4 Medicare eligible professionals are meaningful users; and many more have begun the process. As of the end of 2012, 1 out of every 3 Medicare and Medicaid eligible professionals has made a financial commitment to EHR systems either through meaningful use or adopting, implementing, or upgrading.
Moving into Stage 2
The meaningful use objectives in Stage 2 are the first step towards utilizing technology as a tool to improve quality and efficiency in our health care system, and in each category the program greatly exceeded our expectations for participation and successful implementation of EHR systems.
The changes we have made moving into Stage 2 of meaningful use build on the foundational data capture and sharing outlined in Stage 1. Stage 2 moves the bar higher, focusing on advanced clinical procedures, including: measures focused on more rigorous health information exchange (HIE); increased requirements for e-prescribing and incorporating lab results; electronic transmission of patient care summaries across multiple settings; and more patient and family engagement.
In addition, Stage 2 lays the groundwork for alignment across CMS programs to reduce provider burden and support effective quality measurement.
Just as Stage 1 presented a challenge to CMS, to agency partners, to system vendors, and to our providers, Stage 2 will require hard work and collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders to ensure its success. We look forward to continuing to work with our partners in the public and private sector to meet new milestones and continue to improve the quality and efficiency of our health care system.