CMS Staffer Says Stage 2 Patient Engagement Criteria Not Set in Stone

Stage 2 electronic health record meaningful use requirements that at least five percent of patients conduct secure messaging with physicians, and view, download, or transmit their ambulatory and inpatient data came at the insistence of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. And those requirements might not be set in stone.

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Comments (4)
Mr. Broome's reply to physicians' assertions that patient portals did not draw any interest from patients was that they would have to "push their use." Is this meaningful use or meaningful coercion?

Secretary Sebelius' insistence on some kind of provision of a patient portal, whose purpose is ostensibly to enable patients to have freer access to health information, was clearly motivated by serving patients better. It underlying assumption of incorporating some kind of litmus test with regard to the percentage of patients that utilize them must have been that if the service is offered, a certain number would flock to it. Apparently, no one bothered to determine the normative number before establishing the requirement.

Now, Mr. Broome's advice to physicians is likely to REDUCE patient services by forcing them to go online for the sake of bumping up their numbers in the meaningful use calculus. This is medical policy gone terribly awry, and frankly, Mr. Broome along with the HHS Secretary and HHS policy setters should change the requirement such that it describes what constitutes the minimum functionality of a patient portal without at the same time demanding that any percentage of patients, whose online behavior is beyond the control of physicians, should be required to use it. Continuing to demand that patients use portals and simultaneously holding the threat of failing meaningful use tests over the heads of physicians is not only bad policy; it is also amazingly unintelligent and high-handed.
Posted by rdefazio | Wednesday, October 24 2012 at 2:22PM ET
Sec. Sebelius etal. should just build a database that all providers export to daily. Then we all can push and pull data from one source. Then alot of MU2 to MU infinity can be found in one place by EVERYONE! So than CMS can mine the data all they want and leave us to do HEALTHCARE not IT collection portals and other data collection that has nothing to do with our practice of medicine.
Posted by mackley | Wednesday, October 24 2012 at 5:15PM ET
The decision to incent providers based on the actions of their patients is fraught with possible consequences. Not the least of which is the possibility that providers will find way to "encourage" them to use a portal resulting in lower levels of satisfaction. Quite a trade off.

On a more general note, it is not considered best practice to incent one group based on the behavior of another group. The result is often some unforeseen perverse result that is hard to undo.
Posted by Nathan L | Thursday, November 01 2012 at 1:19PM ET
Build the data base storage is CHEAP!
Posted by mackley | Saturday, November 03 2012 at 8:51PM ET
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