Understanding Meaningful Use Objectives, Part 2

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

Dr. James Kirchner

In a previous article, I took you through the first six Meaningful Use (MU) objectives in the “core” group as established by the CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services). In this edition, I’m going to explain the remaining nine MU objectives. Remember, CMS divided the 25 meaningful use objectives into two groups: the first group of 15, called “core” objectives, and the second group of 10, called “menu” objectives. The directive from CMS is that eligible providers must complete all 15 core items and at least five of the 10 menu items, for a total of 20, to meet MU requirements. As I’ve mentioned before, there are exclusions available to the eligible provider, allowing noncompletion of an objective, yet fulfilling MU. I will address these exclusions in a future Trends and Tactics.

If you missed the first six from the last article, you can still read it on our blog. Remember, for all of these easy-to-accomplish MU objectives, OfficeMate/ExamWRITER v10 will provide the necessary tools that allow you to fulfill the requirements.

Here are the remaining nine core objectives:

1.     CPOE (Computer Physician Order Entry) for medication orders
More than 30% of unique patients, with at least one medication in their medication list as
seen by the EP, must have at least one medication ordered using CPOE.

2.     Implement drug-drug and drug-allergy interaction checks.
The EP has enabled this functionality for the entire EHR reporting period.

3.     Implement one clinical decision support rule and the ability to track compliance
with the rule.

OfficeMate/ExamWRITER v10 will give you this ability.

4.     Report clinical quality measures to CMS or the state.
Extension of PQRI reporting using OfficeMate/ExamWRITER v10

5.     Protect electronic health information created or maintained by the certified EHR technology through the implementation of appropriate technical capabilities.
OfficeMate/ExamWRITER v10 will provide this functionality.

6.     Generate and transmit permissible prescriptions electronically (eRx).
More than 40% of all permissible prescriptions written by the EP are transmitted
electronically using certified EHR technology.

7.     Provide patients with an electronic copy of their health information (including diagnostic test results, problem list, medication lists, medication allergies, discharge summary, procedures), upon request.
More than 50% of all unique patients of the EP who request an electronic copy of their
health information are provided it within three business days.

8.     Provide clinical summaries for patients for each office visit.
Clinical summaries provided to patients for more than 50% of all office visits within three
business days

9.     Capability to exchange key clinical information electronically (for example, problem list, medication list, medication allergies, diagnostic test results) among providers of care and patient authorized entities
Performed at least one test

Now you have seen all 15 core objectives that provide meaningful use. In my next article, we’ll look at the 10 menu objectives. Remember, your certified EHR must provide you with the tools to easily fulfill the objectives. OfficeMate/ExamWRITER v10 is certified and will give you those tools. We want to enable you to qualify for the funds associated with meaningful use and help you provide the best care to your patients. The time to register for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Program is now, even if you don’t have your certified EMR in place. We encourage you to register now.

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.

Got stimulus money questions? We’ve got answers.

Many of our users submitted questions about the HITECH Act while attending our recent online panel discussion, “Stimulus Money: What Do I Need to Know?”

You can now read the questions and answers provided by the panelists by clicking here. If you missed the online panel discussion, you can still watch the recording  here.

Eyefinity/OfficeMate is 100% committed to ensuring that our software products comply with the new EHR federal government certification standards. Be sure to check back with us here on the blog for updates on these efforts. We will also be announcing more educational opportunities on this important issue to help you maximize the financial incentives available to you with a meaningful implementation of ExamWRITER electronic medical records.



Missed our stimulus money discussion? No problem – we taped it!

Our recent panel discussion “Stimulus Money: What Do I Need to Know?” attracted more than 500 people.  For those of you who may have missed it, we are providing access to view a recording of the panel discussion here.

We have received an overwhelming response to the panel discussion and will be putting together more online opportunities for you to learn more about the HITECH Act and EMR adoption so that you can position your practice to take full advantage of the stimulus money available to you beginning in 2011.

Don’t miss out! Register for our free online panel discussion, “Stimulus Money: What Do I Need to Know?”

The clock is ticking, but there’s still time to join Eyefinity/OfficeMate’s free online panel discussion this Friday, Feb. 5, or next Monday, Feb. 8, to find out everything you need to know about the HITECH Act, including how to qualify for the stimulus money available to you.

The online panel discussion will provide viewers with an overview of the HITECH Act and will also address many hot topics surrounding the HITECH Act,  including: qualifying for stimulus money, defining meaningful use, E-prescribing, as well as questions you may have.

Click here to register and learn more about the experts on the panel.

Still unclear about the HITECH Act and qualifying for stimulus money? Join our free, online panel discussion and get answers!

Are you still unclear about how to qualify for stimulus money available through the HITECH Act?  Find the answers to your questions by joining our free, online panel discussion titled: “Stimulus Money: What Do I Need to Know?”

The free panel discussion is open to anyone via WebEx on either February 5, from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. PST or February 8, from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. (PST).  Click here to register.

Our panel discussion will help break down what the HITECH Act  means for you and your practice. Topics include:

  • HITECH Act overview
  • Financial incentives for providers
  • Meaningful use
  • E-prescribing
  • The urgency to act now
  • Q and A session

The panel discussion will feature Jim Tate, president of EMR Advocate LLC., which provides consulting services to EMR vendors, developers and others in the health information technology industry. Tate has supported more than thirty ambulatory and inpatient EMR vendors in their CCHIT (Certification Commission for Health Information Technology) certification projects, and currently serves as a consultant to Eyefinity/OfficeMate.

Also featured on the panel are: Lorie Lippiatt, O.D., of the Salem Eyecare Center in Salem Ohio, Kim Castleberry, O.D., of Plano Eye Associates in Plano, Texas, and Ryan Wineinger, O.D., of Wineinger Vision Associates in Shawnee, Kansas.