Meaningful use is a qualification to receive federal funding for health information technology, specifically, the use of electronic health records. According to the provisions of the Healthcare Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH), healthcare organizations that have achieved meaningful use by 2011 will be eligible for incentive payments, and those who have failed to achieve that standard by 2015 may be penalized.
Stage 1 meaningful use criteria set the baseline for electronic data capture and information sharing. Stage 2 and Stage 3 (expected to be implemented in 2015) will continue to expand on that baseline. Read More »
On August 23, 2012, the federal government released the final rules for meaningful use Stage 2. The rule is set to become effective for program participants no earlier than 2014. The final rule contains 20 measures for physicians, of which 17 are core and 3 of 6 are menu, and 19 measures for hospitals, of which 16 are core and 3 of 6 are menu.
For eligible professionals, there 25 meaningful use objectives for Stage 1. To qualify for payment, 20 of those 25 objectives must be met. (There are 15 required core objectives; the remaining five may be chosen from a menu set of 10 objectives.) For eligible hospitals and CAHs, there are a total of 24 meaningful use objectives. To qualify for an incentive payment, 19 of these 24 objectives must be met. (There are 14 required core objectives; the remaining 5 objectives may be chosen from the list of 10 menu set objectives.)
The concept of meaningful use was developed by the National Quality Forum (NQF) in an effort to determine a set of national priorities that would help healthcare performance and improvement efforts. In 2008, the NQF released a report identifying areas of healthcare that needed improvements. Their ideas included improved population health, coordination of care, improved safety, increased efficiency, reduction of racial disparities, and patient engagement. Privacy and security were later added to the list. The ideals were used to create a framework to determine the meaningful use of EHRs.