"Meaningful Use"

What is "Meaningful Use"?

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 specifies three main components of Meaningful Use:

  • The use of a certified EHR in a meaningful manner, such as e-prescribing.

  • The use of certified EHR technology for electronic exchange of health information to improve quality of health care.

  • The use of certified EHR technology to submit clinical quality and other measures.

Simply put, "meaningful use" means providers need to show they're using certified EHR technology in ways that can be measured significantly in quality and in quantity.

What are the Criteria for Meaningful Use?

The criteria for meaningful use will be staged in three steps.

  • Stage 1 (2011 through 2013) sets the baseline for electronic data capture and information sharing.
  • Stage 2 (2014) and Stage 3 (expected to be implemented in 2016 or 2017) will continue to expand on this baseline and be developed through future rule making.

How do I Meet Meaningful Use Requirements?

To qualify for incentive payments, meaningful use requirements must be met in the following ways:

  • Medicare EHR Incentive Program - Eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals (CAHs) must successfully demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health record technology every year they participate in the program.

  • Medicaid EHR Incentive Program - Eligible professionals and eligible hospitals may qualify for incentive payments if they adopt, implement, upgrade or demonstrate meaningful use in their first year of participation. They must successfully demonstrate meaningful use for subsequent participation years.

  • Adopted - Acquired and installed certified EHR technology. (For example, can show evidence of installation.)

  • Implemented - Began using certified EHR technology. (For example, provide staff training or data entry of patient demographic information into EHR.)

  • Upgraded - Expanded existing technology to meet certification requirements. (For example, upgrade to certified EHR technology or add new functionality to meet the definition of certified EHR technology.)    

What are the requirements for Stage 1 of Meaningful Use in 2014?

Meaningful use includes both a core set and a menu set of objectives that are specific to eligible professionals or eligible hospitals and CAHs.

Eligible professionals must meet:

  • 13 required core objectives
  •  5 menu objectives from a list of 9
  •  A total of 18 objectives

What are "Clinical Quality Measures"?

Clinical Quality Measures or CQM’s are tools that help measure and track the quality of health care services provided by eligible professionals. CQM’s help to ensure effective, safe, efficient, patient-centered, equitable, and timely care.
•  Beginning in 2014, eligible professionals are required to report on a total of 9 measures.
•  The CQM’s must cover 3 of 6 NQS domains:
    - Patient and Family Engagement
    - Patient Safety
    - Care Coordination
    - Population/Public Health
    - Efficient Use of Healthcare Resources
    - Clinical Process/Effectiveness


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