In August of 2012, CMS announced a final rule to govern Stage 2 of the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, which centers on the act of using certified electronic health record (EHR) technology to improve the quality, safety, and efficiency of healthcare. Eligible Professionals (EPs), eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals (CAHs) have begun attempts to meet specific criteria specified in Stage 2 in the hopes of being a participant in the Incentive Programs. These initiatives include developing security safeguards for patient information, improving care coordination, and involving the patient and their loved ones in their healthcare through the use of patient portals.
Meaningful Use Stage 2 highlights multiple areas where organizations can implement practices to meet standards in the following domains: Improvement of Quality, Safety, and Efficiency, Engagement of Patients & Families, Improvement of Care Coordination, Improvement of Public & Population Health, and Ensuring Privacy & Security for Personal Health Information (PHI).
If your organization is planning to achieve Meaningful Use Stage 2, start considering the answers to the following questions:
- Can you provide patients the ability to view online, download and transmit their health information within 36 hours after discharge? If not, how can you shift your focus to achieve this?
- How does your facility measure quality, safety, and efficiency? How often are reviews in these categories conducted?
- Do you currently have software that allows for high levels of patient engagement with providers? What can you do to improve this?
- Are your patients getting the right care at the right time?
- What security measures do you currently have in place? How are you safeguarding patient information and user access?
To help ensure the quality, safety, and efficiency of your care, compare your facility with those of similar status through benchmarking and invest in a patient portal to allow patients and their families to ask questions and receive feedback from their caregivers. Improve your coordination of care by investing in Medicare’s Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) or their Comprehensive Primary Care initiative. Finally, develop physical, administrative, and technical safeguards within your facility to assure privacy and security of patient PHI. Initiation of these changes across your organization will result in beneficial incentives and higher quality healthcare.
Another helpful strategy is to offload some of the manual labor onto an experienced, trusted vendor. Through outsourcing work areas such as abstracting and scanning, your facility can process patient information sooner, allowing coders to work faster and the revenue cycle to accelerate. If FTE’s no longer need to assemble and scan patient charts, they’ll have time and freedom to focus on other initiatives including Meaningful Use.
Could outsourcing your patient chart scanning be right for you? To learn more about our services, connect with one of our business process experts below!