Meaningful Use Stage 3 Retires Measures that Doctors Don’t Do

The other day I was spending some time going through the proposed meaningful use stage 3 measures. It’s quite an experience if you haven’t done this already.

As I was going through each of the measures I realized something that could be a little troubling. In a number of cases, they are proposing that certain measures should be retired from the meaningful use attestation process because essentially those measures have reached a percentage in meaningful use stage 2 that they’re fully adopted. I think this is generally a good idea. We don’t need clinics and hospitals reporting information just to report information.

Although, I did find a surprising trend when it came to the measures that were being retired in meaningful use stage 3. Almost all of the measures (possibly all, but I didn’t dig that deep) were measures that were done by someone other than the doctor. A few examples were vitals, smoking status, and demographics. I guess in some cases the doctor might enter these, but you can see how the vitals were likely entered by a nurse or MA and not the doctor.

On the one hand this is a really great thing. That means that in the previous meaningful use stages, the biggest burden was placed on someone other than the doctor while the doctor was only required to have a much smaller percentage. Unfortunately this means that the higher percentages required in meaningful use stage 3 put the burden largely on the backs of physicians.