Meaningful Use Measures: Clinical Summaries – Meaningful Use Monday

Posted on June 27, 2011 I Written By

Lynn Scheps is Vice President, Government Affairs at EHR vendor SRSsoft. In this role, Lynn has been a Voice of Physicians and SRSsoft users in Washington during the formulation of the meaningful use criteria. Lynn is currently working to assist SRSsoft users interested in showing meaningful use and receiving the EHR incentive money.

Meaningful Use Core Measure: Provide clinical summaries to patients for more than 50% of all office visits within 3 business days.

Exclusion: Any EP who has no office visits during the reporting period.

The clinical summary provides clinical information associated with a specific recent visit. (It does not encompass the entire patient chart.) This measure may appear daunting upon first reading of the requirements, but the guidance below should make it achievable. 

The clinical summary can be delivered by one of two means: electronic media, (e.g., patient portal, secure e-mail, CD or USB fob), or a printed copy. According to advice received from CMS, the easiest way for a physician to meet this measure is to employ a patient portal as the default option. Following each office visit, the EP (or staff) simply uploads the clinical summary to the portal and advises the patient how to access it there. It is only if the patient requests a paper copy that it has to be printed and handed to him or sent by FAX or mail.

Whether the patient accesses the portal or not, the EP will have satisfied the requirement. It is the availability of the clinical summary within the 3-day timeframe—not the patient’s actions—that counts.

As for the content of a clinical summary, the measure defines it to include a comprehensive amount of information, some of which goes beyond the basics typically captured in a digital chart, for example, topics discussed, date of next appointment, tests that should be scheduled with contact information, etc. However, the measure specifications go on to say that to be counted in the numerator of the measure, clinical summaries can be limited to information recorded in the EHR.

Lynn Scheps is Vice President, Government Affairs at EHR vendor SRSsoft. In this role, Lynn has been a Voice of Physicians and SRSsoft users in Washington during the formulation of the meaningful use criteria. Lynn is currently working to assist SRSsoft users interested in showing meaningful use and receiving the EHR incentive money. Check out Lynn’s previous Meaningful Use Monday posts.