The National Partnership for Women & Families states the extra time associated with announced delay in stage 3 Meaningful Use must be used to advance consumer goals.
On Friday, officials at the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) announced proposed to delay the next phase of the Meaningful Use Incentive Program one year, to 2017. Under the revised timeline, Stage 2 will be extended through 2016 and Stage 3 will begin in 2017 for those providers that have completed at least two years in Stage 2.
Stage 2 delay will provide more extra focus on the process of electronic health information exchange and coordination, including the right of patients to view, download and transmit their health information. The implications for Stage 3—is intended to shift the focus to better health outcomes for patients and families—better quality and care and better health.
In a statement released from Debra L. Ness, President, The National Partnership for Women & Families states,
“It is unfortunate that consumers may have to wait longer to realize the full benefits of health information technology (HIT) to improve their care and health. While we are disappointed with the one-year delay in the Meaningful Use Program announced late Friday afternoon, we trust and expect that the Administration will use this extra time to take all necessary steps to ensure that this next phase of HIT is implemented in ways that will give all consumers the efficient, well-coordinated, patient- and family-centered health care system they need and deserve.”
Improvement in Stage 3 Criteria to Reduce Health Disparities
The nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group feel the delay will give all parties enough time to implement stage 2 meaningful use successfully and fully develop all the critical criteria and standards for stage 3.
Under Stage 3, patients and families will expect electronic tools that will ensure their access and involvement in care planning and coordination.
“They expect substantial improvement in Stage 3 criteria to reduce health disparities across America, in line with the Disparities Action Plan submitted by the Consumer Partnership for eHealth last August. Updating EHR certification criteria more frequently will help, while giving providers ample time to successfully achieve meaningful use.” said Ness.