Consulting and information technology services firm Computer Sciences Corp. in a new report summarizes initial Stage 2 meaningful use recommendations from the HIT Policy Committee’s meaningful use workgroup. The workgroup in January published a request for comments on the initial recommendations with responses due by Feb. 25.

While the initial recommendations may change, the underlying capabilities that will be needed to implement them will remain, according to CSC. The firm recommends that providers take the following actions during Stage 1 compliance work to be better prepared for Stage 2:

Re-evaluate – and if necessary update – your plan for Stage 1: Most of the workarounds that technically could be used to meet the minimum requirements for some Stage 1 measures may not work in Stage 2.

Do not ignore Stage 1 menu set items you have chosen to defer: CMS indicated in the final rule on the EHR incentive program that Stage 1 measures in the menu set would likely be required in Stage 2.

Implement CPOE the right way from the start: Given that Stages 2 and 3 will likely expand the measure to include at least lab and radiology orders, it makes sense to implement CPOE for all orders right from the start.

Ensure you have a plan for a robust patient portal: Even though some of the proposed measures may not be realistic (e.g. requiring that 20 percent of patients use a PHR when the national average is well below half of that number), the Policy Committee has clearly made engaging patients in their care a priority.

Make sure your system is certified against Stage 2 in 2013, regardless of when you are planning to meet Stage 1: All hospitals and eligible professionals will need to have electronic health records that are certified against Stage 2 requirements in 2013, even if they have only qualified for incentives based on Stage 1 of meaningful use.

Actively participate in a Health Information Exchange (HIE): Regardless of the specific threshold required for HIEs in Stage 2 or 3, participating in an HIE will go a long way towards meeting the eventual requirements.

Keep an eye out for more details on Stage 2 requirements related to quality reporting and privacy and security: The preliminary recommendations do not address quality reporting and privacy and security.

The CSC report is available for free here.

--Joseph Goedert

 

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