March 13, 2014

Health IT Policy Committee Cuts Stage 3 Meaningful Use Requirements

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Tags: Medical News

Health IT Committee Votes to Cut Stage 3 Requirements 

Not long after changing the timeline for implementing the third stage of Meaningful Use back in December, the Health IT Policy Committee approved reductions to the requirements for meeting Stage 3 to 19 measures on Tuesday. Out of the 26 initial recommendations, eight requirements were eliminated, including those related to eMar, imaging, and care planning, among others.

This narrower requirement set will be sent to the secretary of Health and Human Services for further consideration. Though approval of these requirements by the Health IT Policy Committee may give healthcare stakeholders an indication of how Stage 3 will look in 2017, they do not represent changes to the law.

 The Health IT Policy Committee also emphasized four areas of Electronic Health Record (EHR) technology in their recommendations:

1)      Clinical Decision Support (CDS) – Essentially software tools that expand and supplement a physician’s knowledge, CDS helps increase the quality of care and reduce medical errors by disseminating best practice information and providing a resource against which physicians can check their treatment decisions.

2)      Patient Engagement – A concept referring to a patient’s involvement in the upkeep of their health, as well as the treatment they receive. There are numerous studies supporting the usefulness of patient engagement in improving health outcomes.

3)      Care Coordination – Care coordination changes across organizations, but it broadly refers to creating connected treatment pathways for patients across specialties, departments, and facilities. This allows for the coordination of resources and expert opinions.

4)      Population Management – A crucial part of not only delivering better care, but also reducing financial loss, population management encompasses the coordination and delivery of care across an entire patient population. To properly undertake population management, providers must reference large data sets to identify treatment patterns.

Slated to take effect in 2017, Stage 3 represents the final stage of the Meaningful Use program, and focuses on using the technology implemented in the first two stages to improve healthcare outcomes. Composed of 20 members, The Health IT Policy was created as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Do you agree with the reductions made by the committee? What about their focus areas for EHR? Let us know in the comments.