Meaningful Use Update from HIMSS 2012

First What is HIMSS? HIMSS is a cause-based, not-for-profit organization exclusively focused on providing global leadership for the optimal use of information technology (IT) and management systems for the betterment of healthcare. HIMSS just finished hosting its annual meeting where vendors displayed products and tools related to Health Information Technology, Industry experts presented talks, lectures, discussions and workshops on the current and future state of HIT, and representatives from various government agencies presented information on the latest rules and regulations that impact HIT.

Over the next few weeks we will highlight much of the information that was presented at the 2012 HIMSS meeting at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas on Feb 21 – 24. Today we will look at the proposed rules for Stage 2 of Meaningful Use.

It is important to understand that Meaningful Use has two aspects, the first is what a software vendor needs to do in order to have their software ‘certified’ to meet the Meaningful Use requirements and the second is what a doctor need to do in order to meet Meaningful Use and claim any incentives provided. When talking about software certification the terminology is no longer Stage 1 and Stage 2, the correct terminology is “2011 certified” and “2014 certified”. If you have met or are in the process of meeting the Stage 1 requirements you are do so with software that is “2011 certified”.
In 2014, those physicians who have met at least two years of Stage 1 Meaningful Use will need to meet the Stage 2 requirements. That means if you started meeting Stage 1 requirements in 2011 or 2012, then as of January 1, 2014 you will need to meet the Stage 2 requirements. If you start Meaningful Use in 2013, then in 2014 you are only required to meet the Stage 1 requirements.
Here is where it can become confusing. No matter whether you are meeting the Stage 1 or Stage 2 requirements in 2014, you must use software that is “2014 certified”. This means that 2014 certified software has tools to allow you to meet both the Stage 1 and the Stage 2 requirements.
The proposed changes from Stage 1 to Stage 2 are relatively straightforward. For those providers who are already meeting Stage 1, there are not many workflow changes to implement and the changes should not be terribly disruptive to the functioning of their practices. Measures that were in the Menu Set have been moved to the Core Set. Core Measures that were redundant have been combined into a single measure and some new Menu Measures have been added. Most of the new Menu Measures that have been added fall into the realm of Public Health Reporting. Additionally the threshold for many of the measures has increased; for example in Stage 1 the threshold for recording smoking status was 50%, in the proposed Stage 2 rules the threshold increases to 80%. Another change in Stage 2 is that many of the exemptions that exist in Stage 1 have been eliminated. In the near future we will discuss each of the Core and Menu Measures and the changes from Stage 1 to Stage 2.