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Stage 2 Meaningful Use: Attestation Progress Report

by Allison LaValley, Executive Director of Clinical Performance

As many of you know, our cloud-based platform gives us and our caregivers a unique – and powerful – visibility into their performance. It’s that level of insight that lets us track our providers’ progress with Meaningful Use (among many other initiatives), make adjustments as needed and get as many participating providers across the Meaningful Use finish line as possible. Before we dive into what we’re seeing from providers participating in Stage 2 Meaningful Use, we want to congratulate those who successfully attested to meeting Stage 1 program requirements in 2013 – that’s 95.4% of our participating providers, in case you didn’t see our recent press release.

Our clients have clearly mastered Stage 1, but many have had to quickly switch gears and press onward toward achieving Stage 2 measures, which takes the “meaningful use” of electronic medical records (EMR) to the next level. Providers must demonstrate they can meet higher thresholds with certain measures, such as capturing patient demographics, vital signs and e-prescribing. Additionally, Stage 2 marks the first time that providers are being held responsible for the behavior of their patients.

How are our EMR providers performing against Stage 2 requirements after the first three months of 2014? 18.6% of our participating providers are ready to attest, or have already done so! Considering Stage 2 attestation only began in early April, that’s not bad. As shown in our Meaningful Use measures dashboard, which we’ll update regularly throughout 2014, our providers are really knocking it out of the park — the exceptions are those measures requiring patient engagement activities.

Based on performance data from the athenahealth network, we’re finding that our clients need the most help with the following actions:

  • getting patients to send a (clinically relevant) secure message to them
  • sending preventative care reminders to patients
  • making sure patients view, download, or transmit their health information online

It’s not surprising these areas are proving to be the hardest for providers. While caregivers have always recognized the importance of patient engagement in their health care, this is the first time that Meaningful Use, or any government program for that matter, has mandated very specific manifestations of this “engagement.” Providers and patients are working through these new requirements but affecting the behavior of your patient population (about anything!) can be a slow-moving process.

As I mentioned above, as a cloud-based services company, we’re able to monitor our clients’ data in real-time, and observe how each is performing against the Meaningful Use requirements, such as those challenging patient engagement measures. We monitor this data closely so we can identify the measures that are most difficult for our providers and then act on the data: We implement changes to our service offering, provider education, and support, all to help improve client performance and enable caregivers to attest successfully.

If you’re one of the participating providers struggling with patient engagement measures, now is the time to implement a patient engagement strategy for your practice. Encouraging your patients to use a patient portal is an important first step. If you are already an athenahealth caregiver, and you use the patient portal from our athenaCommunicator service, we have a variety of tools and resources to help.

Over the course of 2014, we’ll review some of the data from our Meaningful Use dashboard right here on the CloudView Blog, and break down some of the more difficult Stage 2 measures. Join us here for Meaningful Use tips, client stories, and real-world ways providers can improve their performance on particular measures. If there are particular Stage 2 Meaningful Use measures you’re struggling with, please share them with us in the comments section of this post, or email the CloudView Blog. We’ll use your feedback to help guide our upcoming Stage 2 blog content.

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