Two Stage Process for Meaningful Use Stage 2?

Posted on October 5, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

An interesting piece of news (some might say rumor) is coming out of AHIMA as posted by Joseph Goedert on Health Data Management. Here’s an excerpt of what was said:

An idea floating around Washington could result in Stage 2 of the electronic health records meaningful use program being different in each of its two years.

That’s what Dan Rode, vice president of advocacy and policy at the American Health Information Management Association, told an audience during the AHIMA 2011 Convention & Exhibit in Salt Lake City.

So the scenario could be that Stage 2 starts in January 2013 with minor changes from Stage 1, such as raising meaningful use quality measures a bit. But any major changes or new requirements, such as requiring the use of SNOMED CT in certain parts of the medical record, would wait until 2014, Rode said.

I’m sure this would be welcomed by almost everyone in the healthcare IT and EMR industry. Doctors and EHR vendors in general want to do as little as possible to get the government EHR incentive money. Even if some will publicly say that they want to use meaningful use to raise the standard of care.

I purposefully created the title to highlight the irony of meaningful use stage 2 having 2 stages. I’m not sure if we’ll call it meaningful use stage 2.0 and meaningful use stage 2.5 for the second step of stage 2. Of course, they could just make meaningful use stage 2 a simpler model and then add a meaningful use stage 4 (assuming the legislation allows it). However, then we’d really confuse doctors more than they already are when it comes to EHR incentive money, meaningful use requirements and their various stages.

This to me is still just a rumor, but it will be interesting to see how they make it happen if in fact they do try and do it. I know many people who will welcome any watering down of meaningful use. Even if you won’t hear them saying it in public.