By ROB Editors
Sept. 23, 2015
Excerpted from the newly published 2015 version of Vision Source’s Navigation Guide to Health Care Reform for Independent Optometrists.
The universal adoption of electronic health records (EHR) by medical professionals is a key goal of health care reform. Indications are that optometry may be ahead of other medical specialties in this adoption.
Transferring existing patient data from paper to EHR, and recording new data in this manner, streamlines the exam process and potentially raises the level of care that ODs provide. Further, the goals for all medical professionals, ODs included, are to leverage this electronic platform to share information (in a secure environment, as defined by HIPAA) with other medical professionals for treatment and research, as well as with patients, to encourage engagement and better outcomes.
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), through its information web site, defines Meaningful Use:
• Improve quality, safety, efficiency and reduce health disparities.
• Engage patients and family.
• Improve care coordination, and population and public health.
• Maintain privacy and security of patient health information.
HealthIT.gov further defines objectives of Meaningful Use:
• Better clinical outcomes.
• Improved population health outcomes.
• Increased transparency and efficiency.
• Empowered individuals.
• More robust research data on health systems.
Meaningful Use Incentives
Medical professionals are incentivized to achieve these stated goals through Meaningful Use of EHR. This is laid out in three stages. As of mid-2015, medical professionals should be well into Stage 2, with Stage 3 commencing in 2016.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services provides criteria for eligibility for EHR Incentive Programs, as well as steps to be taken and a timeline tool for meeting objectives. The criteria for EHR Incentive Program Stage 3 were posted March 2015.
Registration for these programs remains open, though medical providers who began their participation by 2011, when payments began, are positioned to gain the most in reimbursements.
1. Visit www.HealthIT.gov and read EHR Incentives & Certifications.
2. Follow steps for “getting started” and “Payment Timetable.”
3. Analyze EHR system for compatibility in achieving Meaningful Use