Stage 1 Success No Guarantee for Success in Stage 2

The option to defer many stage 1 “meaningful use” EHR Incentive Program measures could mean trouble for providers getting ready to attest to stage 2 in coming months, a new report finds.

Eligible hospitals can begin attesting to stage 2 of the meaningful use electronic health records (EHRs) program Oct. 1, 2013, and eligible physicians can start the process Jan. 1, 2014. But even the eligible providers who successfully attested to stage 1 aren’t guaranteed an easy time—or an incentive payment for stage 2—according to a report by the advisory services firm Impact Advisors.

The report notes that stage 1 gave providers the option to put off—or be more relaxed in their approach to—stage 1 measures, such as those related to transitions of care, patient engagement, and quality reporting. Jason Fortin, senior advisor at Impact Advisors, told the publication EHR Intelligence that because the requirements for stage 2 become so much more intense, providers that delayed them the first time around are in for a rude awakening. The patient engagement component is a good example, says Fortin.

“There are process changes and issues that need to be accounted for. It’s not just a matter of propping up a portal. That won’t be enough. You have to be able to identify patients who could benefit from it or might use it regularly. Who’s responsible for that? When does that occur in a visit to make the patient aware that the portal’s there to provide them with the login information or maybe follow up if there’s no activity,” Fortin says.


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