ARRA – The American Reinvestment & Recovery Act was legalized on February 17th, 2009. It aimed to revolutionize many economic and social sectors including healthcare. Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act was also one of its considerations. This act was in great support of the meaningful use of the electronic healthcare records (EHRs), an initiative by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) and the Office of National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC).
Its emphasis is on the implementation of EHR technology throughout the USA. Moreover, it is also in accordance with the MIPS quality measure Promoting Interoperability (PI) in which physicians use innovative methods to improve the quality of care services. It requires the use of certified EHR technology to provide a secure exchange of healthcare information.
Plays an Important Role in MIPS Data Submission
The meaningful use of EHR technology also helps physicians to efficiently submit MIPS data to CMS. On the other hand, physicians using this technology can also report measures regarding value-based services to the Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS) and get incentives.
The Need for Meaningful Use (MU) Act
This act is helpful in generating five possible outcomes for the betterment of the healthcare industry.
- Improvement in public health
- Improved coordination in healthcare sectors
- Increased engagement of physicians and patients
- Protect patient’s private data from unauthorized use
- Improved services, safety, and efficiency of the healthcare system
What benefits do physicians have for meaningfully using EHR technology?
The incentive payment ranges from $44,000 for 5 years to $63,750 for 6 years (Starting from 2011). Eligible physicians (EPs) and eligible hospitals (EHs) demonstrating adaptation and efficient use of EHR, get valuable rewards. Encouraging physicians to go for EHR meaningful use and reduce the burden on healthcare providers is classified into three stages.
Stage 1 of Meaningful Use
The requirements of this stage are divided into the 15 core sets and 10 menu set objectives. There is an option of choosing 5 out of 10 menu set objectives with the compulsion of at least one population/public health measure.
Stage 2 of Meaningful Use
CMS and ONC have also set standards for the second stage of meaningful use (MU). It released the final rule for incentive programs of Medicare, Medicaid, and EHR technology in August 2012.
For this stage, eligible physicians are required to meet the exclusion to 17 core objectives and 3 out of 6 menu set objectives.
Whereas, it was a must for eligible hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) to qualify for an exclusion to 16 core objectives and 3 out of 6 menu objectives.
Stage 3 of Meaningful Use
In the modified version of stage 2 meaningful use for 2015-2017, clinicians attest to any combination of 2 measures out of 3, while EHs and CAHs attest to any combination of 3 measures out of 4. For stage 3, submitting data for meaningful use was obligatory in 2018.
ONC along with HHS (Department of Human Health & Services) released a final rule in the context of meaningful use and gave certification to the 2015 edition of electronic healthcare records (EHRs). This initiative allowed diverse types of healthcare organizations to get access to healthcare IT.
Thus, medical practices that adopted EHR technology in previous years are now beneficial and can target more incentives, as they have completely understood this method. To get incentives and adopt healthcare IT, physicians should invest their efforts in this system respectively.
HITECH provides high opportunities for healthcare providers to improve their medical practice. The phased approach of three stages allows room for improvement in the public health sector. Moreover, it sets the base of the healthcare system with fewer discrepancies and controls chronic diseases.