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● Roundup: MU Contemplating T

he federal government introduced the concept of meaningful use (MU) – and its monetary incentives propelling adoption – to help ensure that the data gathered for electronic health re-

cords (EHRs) was utilized in a meaningful capacity to aid in moving toward the ultimate goal: reducing cost while improv- ing patient care. According to the Centers for Medicare and

Medicaid Services (CMS): T e Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs pro-

vide fi nancial incentives for the “meaningful use” of certifi ed EHR technology to improve patient care. To receive an EHR incentive payment, providers have to show that they are “mean- ingfully using” their EHRs by meeting thresholds for a number of objectives. CMS has established the objectives for “meaning- ful use” that eligible professionals (EPs), eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals (CAHs) must meet in order to receive an incentive payment. T e Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs are staged in three steps with increasing requirements for participa- tion. All providers begin participating by meeting the Stage 1 requirements for a 90-day period in their fi rst year of meaning- ful use and a full year in their second year of meaningful use. After meeting the Stage 1 requirements, providers will then have to meet Stage 2 requirements for two full years. Eligible professionals participate in the program on the calendar years, while eligible hospitals and CAHs participate according to the federal fi scal year. To qualify for incentive payments in Stage 1, CMS states,

EPs must meet 19 of 24 objectives, while hospitals and CAHs must meet 18 of 23 objectives. On Sept. 4, 2012, CMS published a fi nal rule that speci-

fi es the Stage 2 criteria that EPs, eligible hospitals and CAHs must meet in order to continue to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs. All providers must achieve meaningful use under the Stage 1 criteria before moving to Stage 2. T e earliest that the Stage 2 criteria will be eff ective is in fi scal year 2014 for eligible hospitals and CAHs or calendar year 2014 for EPs. We asked a handful of industry experts to comment on the most important issues related to MU, and the trials and tribulations encountered while attempting to meet it.

8 August 2013

meaningful use HMT asks industry experts to comment on the most important issues related to meeting MU. By Phil Colpas

Hormazd Romer, Accellion Productivity must go hand in hand with security Today’s HIPAA laws place greater pres-

H

sure on healthcare organizations to prevent negligence and protect sensitive informa- tion, which if not addressed can have a penalty of $1.5 million per incident. And many organizations require a quite a bit of improvement. According to a recent Ponemon Institute survey study on data security in the healthcare industry, 94 percent of healthcare organizations suff ered at least one data breach in 2011 and 2012, with nearly half experiencing more than fi ve during that time. As a result, it’s no surprise that HIPAA laws are evolving to address these issues. Compliance requirements now make secure fi le-sharing solutions mandatory when addressing patient record requests; yet many professionals are still in the dark about proper security requirements. When it comes to handling sensitive patient data, healthcare professionals must work smarter to ensure that value is being added to the organization’s work- fl ow. If systems are in place to enhance productivity, but are not equipped with proper security features, then those productivity enhancements are doing the opposite of their intent by debilitating the organization and creating greater exposure to risk. True productivity must go hand in hand with security. Each system set in place must not only enhance employee workfl ow, but also protect patient data and the organization's reputation. It is important to identify the most eff ective and effi cient ways to provide medical records directly to patients with secure enterprise technology, including solutions to protect the mobile device, applications and fi nal content. Be aware of the risks associated with unsecure fi le sharing, and keep in mind that if a system isn’t entirely secure, it’s not truly enhancing productivity.

s ne tion,

HEALTH MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY

www.healthmgttech.com

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