Extension of Meaningful Use Stages 1 & 2

It is clear the digital age is upon us, even so there will likely always be some hesitation and concerns when it comes to fully utilizing technology in one's practice. There have been some incentive programs set up in the last few years and leading through 2017 to help providers make the shift from paper to digital. Digital Physician is an EHR software designed by a physician, with privacy and communication amongst other features being the forefront of our Electronic Health Record System (EHR). We were diligent to be sure that the initial implementation is nothing short of a smooth transition hoping to ease the hesitation for providers. We are not yet a certified software, because truly our focus is now, and always has been on making the EHR software useful and truly meaningful to the physician and caregiver. However, we believe it is import for all of us to be aware of the latest news regarding the EHR Incentive Program. 

In recent news there has been a lot of talk of a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) extension of the EHR Incentive Program, which has three stages. The incentive program extension focuses on Meaningful Use of Stages 1 and 2 to improve use of EHR programs in the United States. 

Meaningful Use, in short, is the use of certified EHR technology to improve quality, safety, efficiency, and reduce health disparities. This will, in turn, engage patients and family and ideally improve care coordination and public health. What this means, if you are not familiar, is CMS has released an EHR incentive program that is split into three stages, all of which have its own set of measure demonstrating meaningful use. In Stage 1 alone, the focus is on capturing and sharing patient data. While in Stage 2, the focus is on improving the care coordination itself through health information exchanges through providers. While lastly in Stage 3, the focus will be on improving the standard of care provided through quality measures. These are all things that we at Digital Physician have strived to achieve from the very launch of our EHR software program.

Registration is required for participation in the EHR Incentive Program in 2014 and it was said that physicians must begin their 90-day EHR reporting period no later than July 1 of this year and attest by October 1, 2014 to avoid a payment adjustment in 2015. At the end of your reporting period, one would submit an attestation to certify that you have met all the requirements for demonstrating meaningful use.

Now there have been more updated proposed rules allowing Meaningful Use of certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT) some flexibility as well as an extension. It also was set to change the requirements for the reporting of clinical quality measures for 2014. The CMS released a proposal that there will be some flexibility in the participation requirements for the 2014 EHR Incentive Program, which means that they will delay the implementation of Stage 3 until 2017. 

This incentive program's extension will allow flexibility for physicians to ease into the digital age and Electronic Medical Records Software, but it seems the goal remains the same. With the utilization of digital medical record software physicians and caregivers can together offer continuity of care and ease their communication. 

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