Guest post by Steve Emery, Director of Product Management at HealthPort
The Meaningful Use Stage 2 Notice of Proposed Rule Making is out and it would bring sweeping changes to how hospitals and eligible professionals release records and other information to patients.
Essentially, CMS is dropping three Stage 1 reporting criteria and replacing them with a core requirement for patient online access to medical records. CMS’s goal is to move the release of information (ROI) process from labor intensive and paper-based to electronic and paper-free.
This is a welcome change for HIM professionals and other ancillary departments that have been pulling files, scanning or making photocopies of records, and sending information to patients via snail mail for years. The changes are as follows.
|Stage One Criteria Being Dropped||Stage Two Criteria Added|
|Patient electronic copies of medical records within 3 business days.Electronic copies of discharge instructions at time of discharge.
|OBJECTIVE:Provide patients the ability to view online, download and transmit information about a hospital admission. MEASURES: MUST PASS TWO
More than 50 percent of all patients who are discharged from the inpatient or emergency department of an eligible hospital of CAH have their information available online within 36 hours of discharge.
More than 10 percent of all patients who are discharged from the inpatient or emergency department of an eligible hospital or CAH view, download or transmit to a third party their information during the EHR reporting period.
FOR ELIGIBLE PROVIDERS
|Stage One Criteria Being Dropped||Stage Two Criteria Added for EPs|
|Patient electronic copies of medical records within 3 business days.
The “menu” requirement for “timely access” on the EP list.
|OBJECTIVE:Provide patients the ability to view online, download and transmit their health information within 4 business days of the information being available to the EP. MEASURES: MUST PASS TWO
More than 50 percent of all unique patients seen by the EP during the EHR reporting period are provided timely (within 4 business days as above) online access to their health information subject to the EP’s discretion to withhold certain information.
More than 10 percent of all unique patients seen by the EP during the EHR reporting period (or their authorized representatives) view, download or transmit to a third party their information.
Bottom Line for Providers
The bottom line for providers is that Stage 2 MU changes with regards to these specific criteria will drive organizations to implement a patient portal or personal health record application; and connect their EHR systems to these systems. Through these efforts it is expected that patient requests to the HIM department for medical records will decrease; as patients will be able to obtain records themselves, online and at any time.
To make the new objective and measures truly “meaningful” facilities must advertise their portals and get patients to use them. Finally, only a minimum set of data is required to be available online. Facilities must still have a process to accommodate patients’ paper requests for other portions of their records.
To read the rule for yourself and zero-in on the items outlined above, here are a few tips:
- The pdf version of the rule (pre Federal Register) can be found by clicking here.
- The new proposed objective for “Access” starts on page 91 for EPs or page 144 for hospitals.
- The list of required record data for online access (if you want to get ahead of our next blog post) starts on page 97 for EPs or page 145 for hospitals.
- If you prefer the table form for reviewing the requirements, that starts on page 156
- And the actual rule verbiage (not the comments and table mentioned above) is on page 406 for EPs or page 414 for hospitals.
About Steve Emery:
Mr. Emery has over 24 years of experience leading teams in the development and enhancement of healthcare information technology and has authored and contributed to numerous articles which have appeared in major healthcare publications on Meaningful Use and other healthcare related topics. Steve Emery is available for questions or interview regarding these specific Meaningful Use Stage 2 Criteria. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org