MACRA Transition: Getting IT Up to Speed a Crucial Step

Many physician practices will need to update their technology capabilities as they begin the transition to the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) this year, success under which demands proper capture and maintenance of trustworthy clinical and financial patient data sets. Healthcare IT will need to be able to handle the demands of advancing quality, controlling cost, and improving clinical performance, according to an article in HealthDataManagement.

“For groups lagging in using a certified electronic health record, developing analytics to guide them and pushing critical data out to their practitioners, experts say it’s time to catch up,” according to the article. But those who have been keeping current with their IT investment and development will likely find the transition comes more easily.

As CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt said in a blog post, “If you participate in the standard Medicare quality reporting and Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Programs, you will find MIPS simpler.” Use of a certified EHR system will certainly be a boon to providers looking to participate in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) following the transition, as this technology will offer support for good performance under MIPS, which draws on meaningful use and the Physician Quality Reporting System. Security risk analysis, patient access, transmittal of summary of care documents, electronic prescribing, and the ability to request and accept a summary of care record using certified EHR technology are just some examples of the types of IT capabilities providers will need in order to be successful with MIPS.

The final rule offers something of a life preserver for those providers who need some time to catch up, giving them the option of using 2017 to get up to speed by taking advantage of partial participation options. “The first couple of years are aimed at getting physicians gradually more experienced with the program and vendors more capable of supporting physicians,” Slavitt said. But 2018 is just around the corner. There is concern that some providers will simply choose a partial participation option and not work toward meeting the requirements of full participation.

“This is definitely going to be a rude awakening for some physicians if they don’t use 2017 as a preparation year,” said Lawrence Kocot, partner at KPMG, in the HealthDataManagement article. “They should start looking at house they should be reporting, and how to get their technology set up for the MIPS program.”


Sarah Sheber ( is assistant editor/web editor at Journal of AHIMA.

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