The final rules issued in 2011 and 2012 by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), define the requirements a provider must meet for Meaningful Use attestation, in three stages. Stage 1 was in effect since 2011, with Stage 2, originally scheduled for 2013, delayed until 2014. The final two stages seek to put in place the elements of the HITECH Act.
Meaningful Use Stage 1
This is the first stage, which gives the requirements that physicians must meet, in order to qualify for financial incentives for implementation of and connecting through EMR systems. This would constitute Meaningful Use attestation. The final rule for Stage 1 was the same as those originally proposed in 2010, but the core requirements are now mandatory for EPs.
The core requirements for Meaningful Use attestation include essential functions, which let the EMR system handle an improvement in health care. Patient medical records is the basic area of focus. Others include:
- Entry of essential data on the patient, such as vital signs and demographics
- Record of current medications used, as well as allergies
- An updated problems list with ongoing diagnosis
- Smoking habit status for at least a half of the patients who are over 13 years of age
- E-prescription use
- Patient reminders for following up healthcare procedures and practices
- Security risk analysis to ensure patient information security and regular updates and error corrections
Additional core objectives for Meaningful Use attestation comprise the use of software programs to start on employing the full functionality of EMRs, so as to boost the security, quality, and efficiency of healthcare practices. Medical practitioners can then be more successful at avoiding avertable errors.
The HITECH Act allows for Regional extension centers, which in addition to the EHR adoption scheme, helps in the successful implementation of EMR in healthcare facilities across the country.