Request demo Call athenahealth Menu

Meaningful Use Stage 2: 4 Reasons to Nail It in 2015

by Allison LaValley, Executive Director of Clinical Performance

With the 2014 holiday season in full swing, the last thing you’re probably thinking about is tackling Meaningful Use in 2015. But there’s no doubt about it: You MUST be on the top of your game for Meaningful Use Stage 2 as soon as the new year begins. Here are four reasons why:
  1. 2015 demands a full-year reporting period. In 2014, eligible providers had to demonstrate Meaningful Use requirements for only three months (one quarter) and the industry still struggled to keep up. In 2015, providers will have to maintain Stage 2 standards for all 365 days of the year. That means even if you nailed Stage 2 in 2014, transitioning from three months to twelve is going to feel a lot different, and require you to bring efforts to the next level.
  2. Stage 2 patient engagement measures are difficult, to say the least. Because of the 12-month reporting period, if you don’t start the year off right, it’ll be almost impossible to catch up later — even for measures will low thresholds. As we’ve mentioned in past blog entries, the most important thing you can do is change your practice’s mentality around communicating with your patients outside the office. The requirements are tough enough to require a wholesale cultural adjustment.

    We were able to help thousands of providers succeed with the Meaningful Use Stage 2 program in 2014; in our experiences, a practice’s ability to get patients using secure messaging capabilities is the leading indicator of Stage 2 success. Stay on top of this measure by ensuring that your staff give every single patient online access to health information, educating patients on the benefits of online access, and encouraging patients to send you a secure electronic message the next time they need a prescription refill or have a question. In 2014, we clearly saw that if you can get your patients to send secure messages and view their health information online, you’ll be on a path to Stage 2 success.
  3. A shorter reporting period is a possibility, not a probability. As you may have heard, the Flexibility in Health IT Reporting (Flex-IT) Act of 2014 was introduced to Congress in September — this bill allows for a smoother transition to Stage 2 by reducing the 2015 reporting period from a full year to three months. Although there seems to be growing support for the bill, there’s no indication it will pass, and nor timeline for when it would go into effect. For now, it’s best to plan for a full 365 days of Meaningful Use Stage 2 in 2015. If things change, first celebrate. Then, figure out what that means for your Meaningful Use approach.
  4. ICD-10 is back. Regardless of the 2015 reporting period, you want to have your 2015 Meaningful Use strategy well in hand at the beginning of the year, with the transition to ICD-10 coming on October 1, 2015. As we’ve mentioned here on CloudView before, there is no upside to ignoring the transition deadline or betting that it will be delayed, so you need to have your plan in place for both ICD-10 and Meaningful Use going into 2015.

How can the ICD-10 transition affect Meaningful Use efforts? Well, despite your best intentions to prepare for the October 1 transition – and that should include knowing what your health IT vendor is doing to prepare – there’s probably going to be a little chaos around your practice in October, and maybe even into November and December as ICD-10 becomes a reality for your staff. The last thing you’ll need is to also manage changes necessary to succeed in Meaningful Use. Those should already be set and part of your workflow.

With all that in mind, here’s how to kick off 2015:

  • Roll out any change management that’s necessary to succeed with patient engagement.
  • Nail down plans to meet the increased electronic data exchange measures.
  • Complete your ICD-10 risk assessment as soon as you can – and definitely well in advance of October.
Keep our four reasons in mind as you prepare for the New Year. The tips above should help keep you and your staff a little bit saner and well-prepared for the year to come. And make sure to check in with us for more tips on Meaningful Use and ICD-10 success in 2015.

Happy New Year!

View full profile and posts from author

Cloudview Blog

Ideas, insights and analysis to help physicians, medical groups and health systems stay informed and profitable in today's challenging health environment.

CloudView Home

Latest from Twitter

Post your comment

These security checks help us prevent unauthorized access to your account.

Schedule an inside look

Thanks for your interest in athenahealth. We're excited to learn more about your practice.

* All fields required

We will never share your email without your permission. View our Privacy Policy or Terms Conditions.


Thanks! We'll be in touch soon!

In the meantime, please feel free to give us a call at 800.981.5084, explore the site or check out a video.


An error occurred

Please feel free to give us a call at 800.981.5084.

Request a live demo