December 22, 2014|Categories: Meaningful Use
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Happy New Year!