Despite the continuing outcry for a delay in the start date, Stage 2 of Meaningful Use may be less than a week away for some providers. Eligible hospitals may begin their ninety (90) day reporting period as early as October 1, 2013, while eligible professionals may begin as early as January 1, 2014.
How is Stage 2 Different?
Like Stage 1, the required objectives for Stage 2 of Meaningful Use fall under two categories: Core Objectives (required) and Menu Set Objectives (selected from a list). While a handful of Stage 1 objectives have been eliminated, the majority of Stage 1 objectives have been carried forward, slightly tweaked, or have been combined with other objectives for Stage 2; of course, there are also several new objectives for Stage 2.
CMS has issued several resources to help organizations and/or providers gear up for Stage 2, including two comparison tables which outline the specific changes that were made with regard to the objectives for eligible professionals and eligible hospitals, with links below:
As an example, the threshold for the CPOE objective (which requires direct order entry by a licensed healthcare professional) has increased from 30% for all medication orders to 60% for all medication orders, while also expanding to include 30% of all laboratory and radiology orders for Stage 2. Several other Stage 1 objectives have been slightly tweaked for Stage 2 by increasing the required completion thresholds, including the objectives for recording patient demographics, recording of vitals signs, recording of smoking status, among others.
Particularly of note, several new objectives for Stage 2 will require a change to IT infrastructure to allow for certain required functionalities. For example, under Stage 2, eligible physicians must have the ability to use a secure electronic messaging system to communicate with patients and 5% of unique patients must actually utilize the system. Similarly, eligible hospitals must have the capability to automatically track at least 10% of medications ordered within the hospital’s inpatient or emergency department, from the time of order to the time of administration. This objective not only requires specific software functionalities, but may require hardware upgrades too. As both objectives fall under the Core Objective category, providers or organizations without the requisite technology upgrades will not be able to begin Stage 2 (thus the outcry to delay the start date by one year or more).
How Can Scribes Help?
Whether you are targeting Stage 1 or gearing up for Stage 2, so many of the Meaningful Use objectives are simple documentation components with which our scribes may help. For years, we, at PhysAssist Scribes, have stressed the importance of understanding the various Meaningful Use objectives and have implemented strategies to help our clients meet their goals. For more information on our innovative training or for information on other ways our scribes can help, please visit www.iamscribe.com.
- Brittany Baine Walker, J.D.