I’d previously gotten some bad information on when meaningful use stage 1 would be applied and when meaningful use stage 2 would go into affect. In fact, I put it out there as a reason why providers should show meaningful use of a certified EHR in 2011 and not wait until 2012. Turns out I was wrong about this.
The meaningful final rule actually does allow you to show 2 years at the meaningful use stage 1 level for 2 years even if you wait to implement and meaningfully use your EMR in 2012 (or even 2013). Here’s an image of the chart provided in the meaningful use final rule on page 44323:
Yes, that means that whether you show meaningful use in 2011 or 2012 you get essentially the same benefits. Although, I guess if you wait to show meaningful use in 2012, then you’ll benefit from all the learning that those that showed meaningful use in 2011 experienced. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure exactly why you’d show meaningful use in 2011. Maybe some readers of EMR and HIPAA have ideas.
Of course, let’s separate implementing an EMR and meaningful use. Would I suggest implementing an EMR in 2011? Absolutely!
You don’t need to rush the implementation. You can make sure you:
1. Choose the right EMR software
2. Implement the EMR software in the most effective way possible
However, every EMR implementation I’ve seen goes in phases. I’d implement an EMR system now so that you can phase in all the meaningful use requirements over time. It makes a lot more sense than rushing to do meaningful use all at once. Not that you can’t do much of the meaningful use during the initial EMR implementation, but sometimes it’s ok and even beneficial to phase things in over time.
Thanks to Lynn at SRSsoft for pointing this out to me along with the location in the meaningful use final rule.