7 Tips on How to Make Meaningful Use Work for You

From 2002 to 2011, electronic health record (EHR) adoption rates among physicians noted an increase from 17 percent to 57 percent. However, there’s still a lot of confusion when it comes to the process of attestation. As a result, many physicians forego using it and are unable to collect their incentive dollars from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Systems (CMS). Every physician can attain the meaningful use incentive. To help make it easier, below is a list of the tips on how to deal with meaningful use.

1. Understand the Exclusions

Meaningful use is comprised of 15 core criteria and 10 menu items. While the 15 core criteria are requirements, you have the choice of pursuing five out of the ten menu items.  What most providers do is look at the core criteria and once they find that they cannot meet one or two items, they drop it altogether. But what they don’t realize is that there are certain exclusions they can refer to. Out of the 15 core criteria, there are six that have exclusions. For instance, Core 8 requires that you take vitals for more than 50 percent of patients from age two and above. However, many providers don’t record vitals during patient checkups. Fortunately, an exclusion for this criterion states that a provider can be excluded from this measure if he does not see patients two years old and above or believes that the scope of their practice is not relevant to the vitals of height, weight and blood pressure.

2. Use Codified Medications

Two core criteria, Core 1:CPOE and Core 4: E-Prescribing, that specify the use of codified medications. To avoid failing these two criteria, use EHR that includes a pre-loaded medication database. This makes it simpler and easier to choose codified medication when you e-prescribe or update a patient’s current medication list.

 3. You Can Do Your Own Risk Analysis

Most providers think that they need an IT person or a Regional Extension Center representative to conduct the required risk analysis. But most people working with you are likely aware of any security holes that could pose a threat. But if you need help, a template like the Risk Analysis Tool from the Office of the National Coordinator could help point out some possible scenarios that could reveal the weaknesses in your security.

4. Familiarize Yourself with the Clinical Quality Measures (CQM)

You need to understand CQMs to be able to obtain the EHR incentives. Everything from the CQM’s description and rationale, to its clinical recommendations and prescribed steps for completion, a good EHR should be capable of helping you understand each CQM within the system.

5. Run Your Meaningful Use Report Regularly

Mark a day each week to look through and analyze your meaningful use report. This simple habit allows you to track your percentages and address any dips in the numbers before it keeps you from attestation.

6. Don’t Let Menu 9: The Immunization Registry Faze You

Depending on what state you’re from, you may be required to upload your immunization file to the state registry as part of the Menu 9 criterion. If you are required to do so, export your immunization file to HL7 format so you can easily and quickly upload the file into your state’s registry without encountering any problems with your EHR. Otherwise, your EHR can allow you to export the file and will likely note that you have met the Menu 9 criterion.

7. Attest your Completed Results

Once your reporting period has ended and you have the completed meaningful use information, you can proceed to submitting all the results to your state’s CMS.  All you have to do is register for the meaningful use incentive program and get your EHR vendor’s meaningful use certification number. Then you can start the process of “attesting” by clicking this link and logging in. Once inside, the CMS will provide you with all the information you need to attest CMS. All you need to do is refer to your competed report and enter the results into the CMS.   There is no need to be wary of meaningful use. If you collect Medicare or Medicaid, you are likely to be eligible for EHR incentives and can earn thousands of dollars every year. Just keep these simple tips in mind and you will find that it’s actually pretty simple.

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