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How Stage 2 affects record release

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   By Steve Emery, April 2012

HMT1104_CS_Steve Emery_HealthPort_90x126Changes will drive organizations to implement a patient portal or personal health record application.

The Meaningful Use Stage 2 Notice of Proposed Rule Making is out, and it would bring sweeping changes to how hospitals and eligible professionals release records and other information to patients.  
Essentially, CMS is dropping three Stage 1 reporting criteria and replacing them with a core requirement for patient online access to medical records. CMS’ goal is to move the release of information (ROI) process from labor intensive and paper based to electronic and paper free.

This is a welcome change for HIM professionals and other ancillary departments that have been pulling files, scanning or making photocopies of records, and sending information to patients via snail mail for years.

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Bottom line for providers
The bottom line for providers is that Stage 2 MU changes with regards to these specific criteria will drive organizations to implement a patient portal or personal health record application and connect their EHR systems to these systems. Through these efforts, it is expected that patient requests to the HIM department for medical records will decrease, as patients will be able to obtain records themselves online and at any time.

To make the new objective and measures truly “meaningful,” facilities must advertise their portals and get patients to use them. Finally, only a minimum set of data is required to be available online. Facilities must still have a process to accommodate patients’ paper requests for other portions of their records.

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About the author
Steve Emery is director of product management, HealthPort. For more on HealthPort, click here.



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