Many physicians and office administrators are wondering if the Meaningful Use Stage 2 guidelines set forth by CMS are achievable in their small practice anytime soon—if at all. In fact, only 50 eligible professionals had attested to MU Stage 2 requirements as of June 2014, according to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Although this number is less than encouraging, many small physician practices trying to achieve MU2 attestation have found that it is not their internal processes holding things up. Rather, it is their EHR vendors’ lack of MU2 readiness blocking them from precious reimbursement dollars.
Read 3 EHR-related tips that could put you on the road to attestation.
1. Ask your current EHR vendor about their Meaningful Use Stage 2 readiness
As of June 2014, only about half of EHR vendors were reporting MU2 certification, so find out if you are using an EHR that has been certified2. If you find that your vendor isn’t quite there, inquire about their timeline.
One tip is to ask for a letter of agreement regarding Meaningful Use Stage 2 certification to cover your loss of reimbursement dollars. If the vendor fails to deliver by the agreed date, you could recover some or all of the revenue lost from lower Medicare reimbursements.
2. Investigate patient portal success
Patient involvement is the cornerstone of Meaningful Use Stage 2: in order to attest patients must be viewing, downloading and sharing health information online. Many vendors are simply not keeping pace with the changes required to make MU2 patient engagement a reality.
If you are not currently using a patient portal in your practice, or you have found your current system to be lacking, request information on your current or prospective vendor’s portal offering. Some questions to ask: Is it ready to deploy now? How many patients are using it? What are your plans for direct secure messaging?
3. Consider a switch from a lackluster EHR
Eager to get in on the HITECH reimbursement bandwagon, many independent physician practices bought into base-model EHR platforms. However, this short-term money-saving measure is now causing long-term problems.
Data collected in a recent survey found that nearly one-fifth of physicians were using EHR systems that don’t have a base EHR product that has been certified for 20143. In order to attest, these docs need to purchase additional products or switch EHR vendors entirely. Although not an easy decision to make, switching EHR vendors now may save frustration and lost funds for years to come.