As the conference room, and then the overflow room both surged beyond their capacities with HIMSS attendees looking for insights on Stage 2 of Meaningful Use, I began wondering if there would be anything for the presenters to say. Rumors of a new Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) have been swirling for weeks with the date gradually slipping back. Checking Twitter again confirmed that nothing had yet been released this morning.
But we soon learned the NPRM was submitted this morning and will be released to the world later this week. Most importantly, our presenters were allowed to start sharing the important details.
Today’s Meaningful Use Stage 2 discussion was a joint presentation with Farzad Mostashari and Steven Posnack from ONC joined by Elizabeth Holland and Travis Broome from CMS.
The presenters all reiterated that the committees involved have all stayed the course with the intent of the legislation, Stage 1 rules and discussions to date. And, as advertised, most of the information shared was to be expected. Still, with so many different stakeholders involved, it was good to get some confirmation about the direction they’re proposing.
The major themes (and in the time available, we weren’t able to get much more than themes) are as follows:
The regulations should be clearer and more flexible. Much of the feedback that the committees took to heart seems to have been in areas where the process didn’t fit the situation. Organizations can now implement only what they need to achieve compliance rather than installing software simply to check a box. Likewise, vendors working on modular certification won’t be required to test against criteria that do not apply to their tools.
Pushing Data Exchange
One of the most often deferred aspects of Stage 1 relates to components involving the sharing of data between systems and organizations. “Meaningful” requires these platforms to work across boundaries and the bar has been set much higher to require both vendors and organizations to get on the bandwagon.
Both the collection and reporting of quality information have lagged in the Meaningful Use process thus far. Stage 2 injects some standards into the process to allow automated submission of metrics along with greater flexibility (such as the ability to submit metrics for practice groups rather than individually by physician) to encourage the conveyance of meaningful quality information.
Pushing Patient and Family Engagement
This, to me, is the most exciting part of the new rule. First, they are reiterating that, despite the lack of adoption thus far, this isn’t going away. Healthcare providers can only kick this can so far down the road, and it looks like that road is ending soon.
Most importantly, in order to be Meaningful, patients need to USE the tools. In addition to the requirements of a percentage of patients being able to view, download or transfer their information digitally to another provider, 10% of patients will actually need to do just that.
Yep, you read that right. Meaningful use dollars will be dependent on patient adoption of the technology!
The difficult to use, complex, and clumsy options that providers have today just aren’t going to cut it for Stage 2. Patient portal tools will need to deliver great value to the patient and provide an excellent experience.
Big steps forward in Stage 2. These steps set a much stronger foundation for the changes in the healthcare model we’re moving toward.