Understanding Meaningful Use Objectives, Part 1

A message from James Kirchner, OD, Chief Professional Officer for Eyefinity/OfficeMate:

Dr. James Kirchner

At Eyefinity/OfficeMate, we are celebrating the certification of OfficeMate/ExamWRITER v10. We are excited to be able to produce a certified EHR, which is a critical component of your meaningful use (MU) strategy.

Now it’s time to help you understand the MU objectives. As I promised in my previous articles, I’ll give you the specifics of the 25, MU criteria, so that you can be confident in your ability to use your certified software in a meaningful way. My goal is your success in getting your portion of the stimulus money—all $44,000.

There are 25 objectives as established in the Final Rule by CMS, I’m going to detail all 25 over the next few blog articles. I’ll make them very practical to understand. I’ll begin by detailing the first 15 which are called “core” objectives and CMS expects eligible providers (EPs) to perform all 15. The second set is called “menu,” and you will be expected to perform 5 out of the 10 menu objectives. Therefore, a total of 20 out of the 25 objectives will need to be accomplished for successfully using your certified EHR in a meaningful way.

There are exclusion provisions that have been established, so that you can decide if any of the 15 should be excluded by you. I’ll address the exclusions in the future. For now, let’s go through the list. I’m going to group the objectives by 3 major categories for the sake of clarity. I’ll do the first category in this edition and the other categories in next few blog articles.

Category 1: Recording and Securely Storing Specific Patient Data

  1. Record Demographics
    Record the patient’s preferred language, gender, race, ethnicity, and date of birth.
  2. Maintain a Problem List
    Maintain an up-to-date problem list of current and active diagnoses.
  3. Maintain an Active Medication Allergy List
    Maintain a list of patient medication allergies. If the patient hasn’t any medication allergies, you must record as none.
  4. Maintain an Active Medication List
    Maintain a list of patient medications. If the patient isn’t taking any medications, you must record as none
  5. Record and Chart Vital Signs
    Record height, weight, blood pressure, calculate and display BMI, plot and display growth charts for children 2–20 years of age, including BMI.
  6. Record Smoking Status
    Record the smoking habits of patients 13 years and older.

There you have the first set of MU objectives. Remember that your certified EHR must provide you with the tools to accomplish the tasks listed above, but it will be up to you to do the work.

I know that many of you will be concerned with some of the objectives listed. I mentioned that the CMS Final Rule makes allowances for exclusions. The topic of exclusions is worthy of a complete edition of Trends and Tactics, so stay with me through this series, and I’ll explain them.

Understanding Meaningful Use

A message from James Kirchner, OD, Chief Professional Officer for Eyefinity/OfficeMate:

In my last post, I challenged each of you to begin the process of utilizing electronic medical records (EMR). I want to reinforce that call to action; you need to adopt a certified EMR, like ExamWRITER, now. The government wants you to use EMR, not in a superficial manner, but in a meaningful way. That desire is the basis for the incentive payments that will be available to all eligible providers.

Meaningful use is the foundation for the entire government incentive payment initiative, yet this concept seems vague and confusing. It’s like trying to drive down a foggy road without a clear view of where we are headed. It shouldn’t be this way. Meaningful use is quite simple once you understand its basic concepts. Over the next 5 years, the healthcare industry is being asked to move to a high-level use of electronic record keeping and information exchange in anticipation that it will dramatically improve the quality and efficiency of American healthcare. In order to reach this goal, the meaningful use of EMRs will progress through 3 stages over this period of time. The first stage will be over years 2011 and 2012 and, according to the Final Rule, has specific meaningful use objectives that eligible providers must satisfy to qualify for incentive pay.

The objectives (or measures) are not difficult and, if not a part of your typical workflow, can be easily added. Your certified EMR will provide you with the tools to satisfy the meaningful use objectives. There are 25 meaningful use objectives, 15 that are called “core” and 10 that are named “menu”. The government is requiring that all 15 core objectives be met during your reporting period and that 5 out of 10 menu objectives be met, with your choosing the 5 that you meet. There is room for exclusion in these core and menu objectives if you cannot perform them, due to an objective being outside of your scope of license, or if you do not have any patients that would allow you to meet the objective. In these cases, you would simply identify that item as an exclusion and it would qualify as having performed the objective. However, there is a lot that is unclear about this exclusion language, and it doesn’t appear to me that it will be allowed frequently or on a recurring basis.

I feel that the easiest way to understand meaningful use is to recognize the government’s objectives in the first stage. The 3 basic criteria include use of a certified EHR:

  • In a meaningful manner including e-prescribing, data storage, and retrieval
  • For electronic exchange of health information to improve quality of healthcare
  • To submit clinical quality and other measures

The 25 meaningful use objectives fit within those 3 areas. In my next column, we will look a little deeper at examples of these objectives. It’s my desire to help you understand this whole program, to be comfortable with its demands, and to give you the tools to achieve meaningful use of your EMR. My immediate challenge to you is to begin using your EMR, or if you haven’t purchased ExamWRITER yet, do so and begin the implementation process. There is no need to wait—begin the EMR process now.

For more information: Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.

Eyefinity Introduces ‘Meaningful Strategies to Meaningful Use: We’ll Show You How’

The government wants you to use Electronic Medical Records (EMR) in a meaningful way. Meaningful Use is the foundation for the entire government stimulus payment initiative under the HITECH Act, yet this concept seems vague and confusing. But, Meaningful Use is quite simple once you understand its basic concepts, and Eyefinity® is here to help you every step of the way.

Get an overview of Meaningful Use and what it means to you and the eyecare industry with our first Meaningful Strategies to Meaningful Use Webinar series, featuring Eyefinity’s Chief Professional Officer,  James Kirchner, OD, and his guest, Jeffrey Willig, MD.

Four Times for You to Choose From:

November 16—8:00 a.m. or 5:00 p.m. (PST)

November 18—5:00 p.m. (PST)

November 19—8:00 a.m. (PST)

Register early—there are a limited number of seats for each Webinar.

To register for your desired date and time:

1. Go to http://officemate.webex.com.

2. Click the Daily tab.

3. Use the calendar within the Daily tab to select your desired course date (November 16, 18, or 19).

4. Click the Register link on the right side of the Meaningful Strategies to Meaningful Use Webinar for which

you want to enroll.

5. Type your registration information.

6. Click Register.

You’ll receive an e-mail confirmation of your registration with the course’s password, registration ID, and the link you’ll need to join the course. Please join the Webinar 5 minutes prior to the start time; you’ll be unable to join a course 10 minutes after it begins. You must have a high-speed Internet DSL, cable, or T1 connection to successfully participate in the Webinar.

If you have questions or need more information, contact the Eyefinity Training Department at:

ossu@eyefinityofficemate.com or 800.942.5353, option 3.

VSP Global Spark Returns for Second Practice Makeover!

VSP GlobalSM Spark is back in action! The team just returned from Columbus, OH after successfully completing another practice makeover with a focus on technology. The webisode series is  designed to help you grow your business and ignite your success by making practical changes to your practice. Drs. Steven J. Curtis, Julie A. Curtis and J. Bradley Oatney of Riverview Eye Associates were the recipients of the second VSP Global Spark makeover. You can meet the doctors in the first webisode, available now at: vspglobal.com/spark.

As new webisodes unfold every few weeks, you can watch this practice say goodbye to paper and inefficiencies and hello to automation and simplicity. Don’t forget to subscribe to our RSS feed or download VSP Global Spark Resources for practical tips and techniques that you can implement in your practice.

Use it or Lose it!

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) expire December 31—Remind patients to spend!

Your office is the perfect place for patients to spend those remaining FSA dollars and increase your year-end sales. If FSA money isn’t used, it’s gone forever!

Here are 5 great ways to remind your patients to “use it or lose it!”

  • Use it or Lose it!eBuy is the only place to get authentic Sun Rx. Show your patients the hottest frames from Nike, Nautica, Maui Jim, and Rudy Project.
  • FSA dollars are great for second and third pair purchases.
  • The holidays are coming—designer sunglasses make a great gift. Encourage patients to pick up a pair or two.
  • Upsell, upsell, upsell. Push premium lens options and material upgrades.
  • Send your patients to ReorderContacts.com to stock up on contact lenses.

So, remind your patients to use those FSA dollars before December 31 or lose them. Go to eyefinity.com for more information.

OfficeMate/ExamWRITER Receives ONC-ATCB 2011/2012 Certification!

Eyefinity/OfficeMate has some exciting news to share:  OfficeMate®/ExamWRITER® version 10, is 2011/2012 compliant and was certified as a Complete EHR on October 29, 2010, by the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT®), an ONC-ATCB, in accordance with the applicable eligible provider certification criteria adopted by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The 2011/2012 criteria support the Stage 1 meaningful use measures required to qualify eligible providers and hospitals for funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

Eyefinity/OfficeMate President Steve Baker shares his thoughts on this achievement:

“We are thrilled that OfficeMate/ExamWRITER is now a certified EHR and we remain dedicated to supporting our clients as they prepare to implement our certified solution. We believe that earning this certification ensures that our clients are well positioned to achieve meaningful use and receive the stimulus money available to them.”

The certified version of OfficeMate/ExamWRITER (version 10) is expected to be available in February 2011. Stay tuned to the blog and our Web site as we will be rolling out additional resources to help you and your practice gear up for  successful implementation of our certified OfficeMate/ExamWRITER.