Taking a new view of MU

A key shift will be getting specialty practices to think more about how they can integrate MU
By Frank Irving
08:40 AM
Taking a new view of MU
Due to the three-staged structure of the meaningful use timeline, eligible providers and hospitals have tended to approach the process in a literal, rigid way. But there's a change afoot, which some may call MU 2.0.
 
The old-school way of thinking focused on the basics of selecting an EHR, registering for the meaningful use program, choosing the minimum amount of measures, running generic reports and turning on the system just in time to meet the reporting period.
 
"A lot of organizations have done this, but that's not really the way we should be looking at things," said healthcare IT consultant Rachelle Blake, a presenter at a Sunday HIMSS14 workshop, "Meeting the Challenges of Meaningful Use in My Practice."
 
"It's been suggested that we don't even look at meaningful use in stages," Blake explained. "We'll always have the basic functionality for creating structured data and ensuring privacy and security protections. But then we need to consider how providers can use that data to improve delivery and outcomes. In doing so, interoperability has to be something more than a pipedream."
 
MU 2.0 calls for starting with an EHR certified to 2014 criteria. Once the system has been implemented, EPs should aspire to meeting all core measures — and planning for the next reporting period while the current one is in progress.
 
Next comes working with vendors to customize reports, and testing/monitoring systems before rollout.
 
Finally, practices and hospitals should be interacting with providers during the attestation period.
 
"Find out what's happening," advised Blake. "Where are the gaps? Do changes need to be made to the workflow? Maybe the physician doesn't understand why they need to do clinical quality measures. It will help them engage with the patient and actually start a conversation."
 
A key shift, Blake said, will be getting specialty practices to think more about how they can integrate MU — rather than trying to find ways they can be excluded by definition.
 
"I've spent many hours speaking to radiologists, pathologists, ophthalmologists and behavioral health specialists," she added. "The real breakthrough happens when they recognize how meaningful use can benefit their practice and patient population."