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Christina Rosario

By: Christina Rosario on April 8th, 2015

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What You Should Know About Stage 3 Meaningful Use

Value-Based Care

Stage 3 Meaningful UseBack in 2009, President Obama signed the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act. It gave the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services authority to create programs designed to improve the level of safety, efficiency, and quality of the health care delivered in this country by focusing on developments in health information technology.

To that end, the government is making an effort to promote and encourage medical practices to start using such important tools as electronic health record software and electronic health information networks.

Of course, the system doesn’t provide such encouragement in a vacuum, and medical providers are offered financial incentives to get with the program and implement more efficient software solutions. The government wants medical organizations to demonstrate meaningful use, and now we are entering the period of Stage 3 Meaningful Use.

Here is what you should know about Stage 3 Meaningful Use, based on criteria just released by the government on March 20, 2015.

New Objectives

Demonstrating Stage 3 Meaningful Use involves four main objectives. The software solutions must focus on security for the confidential patient information being gathered and stored.

Doctors must be able to use the system to transmit prescriptions electronically. There must be provisions to support clinical decision-making. Software must also make it easy to share data more readily with other health care providers, as well as the patients themselves.

Flex Year

Initially, medical providers were due to begin Meaningful Use Stage 3 in 2017 after they had met the requirements of Stage 2. Now, the government is designating 2017 as a “flex year,” so providers can continue to stay in Stage 2 for an additional year.

Note that you can only progress to Stage 3 when you use certified EHR applications. The government says that Stage 3 is the final stage in Meaningful Use demonstration.

Certification is a Must

If your medical organization is still using an old-fashioned, paper-based system to keep things running, you likely already know that it’s time to switch over to a computerized system.

In order to demonstrate Stage 3 Meaningful Use, you must select a software provider that offers only certified EHR applications, or your organization will not be eligible to receive the financial incentives from the government.

Prepare for 2018

All medical providers will be expected to demonstrate Meaningful Use by 2018. While that may seem a long time away still, it’s important to keep in mind that you have to find a suitable software provider and allocate sufficient staff time and resources so your team will know what to do by the deadline.

Technology standards are always evolving, so improvements coming down the road may slightly alter what the provisions will be for Meaningful Use demonstration.

Keeping track of the latest administrative and information technology requirements can sometimes be daunting, even for the largest of medical organizations. By preparing now for Stage 3 Meaningful Use, you will give your medical group sufficient time to make the transition as smoothly as possible.

Key Takeaway

  • President Obama signed the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, giving the government authority to create programs promoting efficiency with software.
  • Details about Meaningful Use Stage 3 were released by the government March 20, 2015, and are ready for your organization to peruse and study.
  • Medical providers can now regard 2017 as a “flex year,” which means that they can opt to continue with Stage 2 Meaningful Use for one more year.
  • You must be careful and select a software provider that offers only certified electronic health record or EHR applications in order to demonstrate Stage 3 Meaningful Use.
  • Stage 3 Meaningful Use involves improved data security, electronic prescriptions, clinical decision-making support, and the ability to share data with other providers.
  • Stage 3 is the final stage of Meaningful Use.

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About Christina Rosario

Christina Rosario is the Director of Sales and Marketing at Advanced Data Systems Corporation, a leading provider of healthcare IT solutions for medical practices and billing companies. When she's not helping ADS clients boost productivity and profitability, she can be found browsing travel websites, shopping in NYC, and spending time with her family.