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Beyond the Numbers: How We Achieved 2012 Meaningful Use Success

by Jasmine Gee, Director of Product Marketing

In case you haven’t heard, athenahealth's 2012 Meaningful Use results are in—and they’re fantastic. Not only did 96% of our participating physicians attest to Stage 1 Year 1 Medicare Meaningful Use, but the same percentage attested to full-year Stage 1 Year 2 Medicare MU. Many have wondered how those numbers stack up against national averages, and VP of Government Affairs Dan Haley commented on that in a previous blog post. But there's another question:

How did we do it?

Well, we learned a lot from the 2011 Meaningful Use program year. And we dialed that insight right back into our MU support program to hone our cloud-based EHR software, improve our networked knowledge, and master our pro-active coaching and outreach to our clients.

Some learnings to share:

  • Four measures drove us nuts last year (clinical summaries!) and we needed more transparency about measure performance and those tasks physicians must satisfy without our assistance. So we focused our R&D efforts on those key areas, which streamlined the experience for both 90-day and full-year Meaningful Users.
  • Performing against a 90-day program is pretty easy. But sustaining performance for a full year was uncharted territory for us and our physician clients. Using historical patient volume information, our Meaningful Use team got very good at predicting which physicians were on track for full-year MU attestation and which physicians were in trouble.
  • The predictive analytics and absolute confidence in our best practices made our outreach efforts more effective. Our Account Managers received better training—backed up by awesome data—to drive MU conversations. The MU team can rattle off example after example of physicians who turned around their performance after one or two conversations.

That’s our secret sauce: a combination of flexible cloud-based software, ridiculously deep data, and really smart people focused on getting physicians over the Meaningful Use finish line. And the stakes for MU are higher this year than in the previous two for this reason: Physicians who attested to Medicare Meaningful Use in 2011 or 2012 must attest to 2013 MU to avoid a 1% Medicare Part B fee schedule reduction in 2015.

So while a 96% attestation rate is really great, you can bet we’re reviewing that last 4% to figure out how to make 2013 Meaningful Use—and Stage 2—even better with athenaClinicals and athenahealth. And just like our Stage 1 Meaningful Use guarantee, we have a guarantee ready to go for Stage 2, too.

Thanks for joining me! Stay tuned for more stories from the Meaningful Use trenches!

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