The Health IT Policy Committee has approved scaled-down recommendations to the Department of Health and Human Services on criteria for Stage 3 of the electronic health records meaningful use program. The recommendations, which include 19 objectives for providers to comply with compared with 26 in an earlier version, will inform HHS in developing a proposed rule for Stage 3.

"We believe we have significantly reduced the total number in an effort to focus and reduce the burden," argued Paul Tang, chair of the workgroup, in his presentation.

The Policy Committee took the action after previously asking its meaningful use workgroup to identify objectives that could be removed. The goal was to tighten the focus of Stage3, reduce the burden on providers and rely on available and mature standards.

The Stage 3 meaningful use objectives that were removed covered: reminders, amendments, eMAR, case reports, medication adherence, syndromic surveillance for eligible professionals, imaging, and family history.

In making the "tough" decision to eliminate objectives, Tang said that the focus was on four emphasis areas: clinical decision support, patient engagement, care coordination, and population management, with mature standards supporting these areas.

The 19 objectives in the approved recommendations fall into four categories:

Improving Quality of Care and Safety:
Clinical decision support
Order tracking
Demographics and patient information
Care planning—advance directive
Electronic notes
Hospital labs
Unique device identifiers

Engaging Patients and Families in Their Care:
View, download and transmit
Patient generated health data
Secure messaging
Visit summary and clinical summary
Patient education

Improving Care Coordination:
Summary of care at transitions
Notifications
Medication reconciliation

Improving Population and Public Health:
Immunization history
Registries
Electronic lab reporting
Syndromic surveillance

As a means of comparison, Tang said Stage 1 and Stage 2 both had 20 recommendations. More information is available here.

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