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McKesson and Meditech Named as First “Test EHRs” by CMS and ONC

CMS and ONC just announced the first two “Test EHRs” are McKesson and Meditech. Here’s the details of their announcement:

As part of our and CMS’ ongoing effort to improve interoperability among certified Electronic Health Records Technology (CEHRT), we are pleased to announce McKesson and Meditech are the first two “Test EHRs,” selected from among certified EHRs. We strongly encourage others in the EHR technology developer community to participate in the program to become a CMS designated test EHR.

Under Stage 2 of Meaningful Use transition of care objective measure #3 [PDF - 218 KB]eligible professionals (EPs) and eligible hospitals/critical access hospitals (CAHs) must either:

- Conduct one or more successful electronic exchanges of a summary of care document, with a recipient who has EHR technology designed by a different EHR technology developer than the sender’s.

Or

- Conduct one or more successful tests with the CMS designated test EHR during the EHR reporting period

ONC and NIST conducted a pilot that ran from September through November of last year to finalize the test procedures. The pilot participants were AthenaHealthMcKesson andMeditech.

To find out more about becoming a CMS designated test EHR, read the “EHR Technology Developers” section of the FAQs on becoming a CMS designated test EHR and the “Developer Participant Information for Cross Vendor Exchange” document.

I find it interesting that AthenaHealth was a pilot participant, but isn’t one of the official “Test EHRs.” I wondered what happened there. Looks like a lot of EHR vendors will be able to at least connect to McKesson and Meditech.

January 16, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

CMS Releases MU Stage 2 Guide

CMS has released a new resource, An Eligible Professional’s Guide to Stage 2 of the EHR Incentive Programs, which provides a comprehensive overview of Stage 2 of the EHR Incentive Programs to eligible professionals. The guide outlines criteria for Stage 2 meaningful use, 2014 clinical quality measure reporting, and 2014 EHR certification.

The guide’s table of contents makes it easy for you to navigate through Stage 2 topics. Interactive tabs included at the bottom of each page allow you to transition between different chapters.

Chapters include:

  • What is Stage 2 of the EHR Incentive Programs?
  • What are the requirements under Stage 2 of Meaningful Use?
  • How will clinical quality measures (CQMs) change?
  • Resources

The guide can be found on the Educational Resources page of the EHR website.

September 17, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Meaningful Use Attestation Deadline for 2012 and MU Stage 2 Testing Ready

Eligible professionals (EPs) who participated in the Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program in 2012 must complete attestation for the 2012 program year by February 28, 2013. In order to be eligible to attest you must have completed your 2012 reporting period by December 31, 2012.

CMS encourages Medicare EPs to register and attest as soon as possible to resolve any potential issues that may delay their payment.

Medicaid EPs should check with their State for their attestation deadline.

Resources from CMS
CMS has several resources located on the EHR Incentive Programs website to help EPs properly meet meaningful use and attest, including:

Also, for EHR vendors, ICSA just announced that they are now set to begin testing EHR software for meaningful use stage 2. That’s right. Meaningful Use stage 2 is just around the corner.

January 16, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Meaningful Use Stage 2 Final Rule Published

UPDATE: For those not wanting to go through all 672 pages of the meaningful use stage 2 final rule, ONC has put out this summary PDF.

Today, CMS publishes the meaningful use Stage 2 Final rule in the Federal Register. The MU stage 2 final rule is 672 pages long.

The HHS press release announcing the EHR incentive money stage 2 final rule also offered these important points to note:

  • Make clear that stage two of the program will begin as early as 2014. No providers will be required to follow the Stage 2 requirements outlined today before 2014.
  • Outline the certification criteria for the certification of EHR technology, so eligible professionals and hospitals may be assured that the systems they use will work, help them meaningfully use health information technology, and qualify for incentive payments.
  • Modify the certification program to cut red tape and make the certification process more efficient.
  • Allow current “2011 Edition Certified EHR Technology” to be used until 2014.

The second point annoys me a little after hearing about some of the EHR certification fraud and issues it could cause providers that attest to meaningful use.

The press release also offered the following EHR incentive participation numbers:
-120,000 Eligible Health Professionals have participated
-3,300 Hospitals have participated
-More than half of all eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals and 1 out of every 5 eligible health care professionals

Watch for more detailed coverage of the meaningful use stage 2 final rule in our ongoing Meaningful Use Monday series.

August 23, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Meaningful Use Stage 2 Comment Period Ends May 7th

ONC and CMS sent out the following email about the meaningful use stage 2 comment period. It closes very soon and so I encourage everyone to submit their comments on meaningful use stage 2. I’m a real proponent of the benefits of crowd sourcing and if enough people comment on meaningful use stage 2, I think we’ll receive the benefits of the crowd participating in the discussion and improving MU stage 2. I encourage doctors in particular to share their comments on the meaningful use stage 2 NPRM.

Please note that the comment period closes on Monday, May 7 for the notices of proposed rule-making (NPRMs) for Stage 2 of meaningful use and updated certification criteria.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) rule proposes the capabilities and related standards and implementation specifications that Certified EHR Technology will need to include to, at a minimum, support the achievement of “meaningful use” by eligible health care professionals beginning with the EHR reporting periods in FY/CY 2014. The rule also proposes revisions to the permanent certification program for health information technology, which include changing the name of the program to the “ONC HIT Certification Program.”

ONC’s rule complements the newly released Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed rule for Stage 2 of the EHR Incentive Programs, clarifying the specifications necessary to meet the criteria for these programs.

Comments Can Be Submitted in 4 Ways

Both ONC and CMS rules identify that comments can be officially submitted in 4 ways:

  1. Electronically through www.regulations.gov – this is the preferred method
  2. Regular mail
  3. Express mail or overnight mail
  4. Hand-delivered/courier

Faxes are not accepted.

To enhance the public comment experience, ONC and CMS have made a copy of the rule available in Microsoft Word to make it easier those who comment to access and copy portions of their proposed rule for use in their individual comments.  Visit http://www.healthit.gov/providers-professionals/meaningful-use-stage-2 for more information.

May 4, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Health Plan and Employer PHR

After the fall of Google Health, many had written off PHR (Personal Health Record) software as dead and gone. I can’t say that I had much hope for PHR software myself. Although, some of the recent moves by PHR vendor NoMoreClipboard have me pausing to reconsider what value a PHR could provide. My gut tells me they might want to distance themselves from the toxic term, PHR, but they’re definitely being creative with the platform they created.

Right before HIMSS I covered how the PHR could help to facilitate an ACO and Patient Centered Medical Home. Both ACO and PCMH are much more popular terms these days and quite frankly many are still trying to figure out how to make them a reality. I could see a PHR helping to make this happen.

Just yesterday, NoMoreClipboard announced a partnership with Healthx which makes PHR software available to Payers and Employers. I know that many in the investment world are arguing against trying to get money from payers and employers for wellness programs as a startup company. Although, NoMoreClipboard is not a startup company and I have little doubt that integrating their PHR with the Healthx portal was not easily accomplished. I’ll be interested to hear how many of the 12 million people who use Healthx end up using the PHR as well.

Add in the meaningful use stage 2 requirements that PHR can fulfill and maybe just maybe the PHR are back in style. Although, they’re not the PHR that most thought it would be. Instead, it’s taking on new forms that give it an interesting new life.

April 6, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Meaningful Use Stage 2 Guidelines in Digestable Format

John Crankshaw and Jonathan Ploudre have put together a look at the meaningful use stage 2 guidelines in the most digestable format I’ve seen. You can find the PDF of their MU stage 2 guidelines here. I wish that it was a webpage instead of a PDF, but beggars can’t be choosers I guess.

I haven’t dug into the document completely to verify the accuracy of every single thing, but I did check a bunch of them and they were spot on. I think doctors will really love this summary of the meaningful use stage 2 guidelines. Hopefully many doctors will look it over and provide comments during the meaningful use stage 2 comment period. You have until May 7, 2012 to comment on MU stage 2.

March 8, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Farzad Mostashari’s Post on Meaningful Use Stage 2 NPRM

I love that Farzad Mostashari and other people at HHS and ONC have been blogging about these exciting times in healthcare IT. Farzad recently did a post about the meaningful use stage 2 NPRM (see this Meaningful Use Monday post on Meaningful Use Stage 2). He starts off the post with some interesting numbers:

to date, more than 43,000 providers have received $3.1 billion to help make the transition to EHRs; the number of hospitals using EHRs has more than doubled in the last two years from 16 to 35 percent between 2009 and 2011; and 85 percent of hospitals now report that by 2015 they intend to take advantage of the incentive payments.

I’ve always found the ONC/CMS/HHS numbers to be a bit higher than reality. Although, I bet their hospital numbers aren’t too far off. There’s little doubt that hospitals are interested in EHR.

Farzad also offered the most succinct view of the 3 stages of meaningful use that I’ve seen. Here’s basically his vision for meaningful use:

  • Stage 1 (which began in 2011 and remains the starting point for all providers): “meaningful use” consists of transferring data to EHRs and being able to share information, including electronic copies and visit summaries for patients.
  • Stage 2 (to be implemented in 2014 under the proposed rule): “meaningful use” includes standards such as online access for patients to their health information and electronic health information exchange between providers.
  • Stage 3 (expected to be implemented in 2016): “meaningful use” includes demonstrating that the quality of health care has been improved.

I posted a comment on the blog post which is still waiting to be approved:

Some very interesting numbers and I appreciate the overall vision of what each stage will do. The first part of this post reminds me of what I heard at HIMSS, that ONC has become more of a marketing organization. I found that interesting since you could easily see why ONC is considered an EHR marketing organization.

These first year numbers are interest, but the second year numbers will matter even more. The first year numbers were likely those who already adopted EHR versus those that implemented EHR post-stimulus. Let’s hope the message that providers offer after they’ve implemented is that they love their EHR. If they start telling their colleagues that they hate the EHR that they were “forced” to implement because of the government carrots and sticks, then it will be quite disappointing.

February 27, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Permanent EHR Certification Program (ONC-ACB) Delayed – Is Meaningful Use Stage 2 Delay Next?

It doesn’t come as much of a surprise to me to see the news (yes it’s a couple days old now) that the permanent EHR certification program (where ONC-ATCB becomes ONC-ACB) has been delayed. It was set to sunset at the end of this year and it would essentially convert into the permanent EHR certification program.

ONC’s Farzad Mostashari put out a letter describing the delay in implementing the permanent EHR certification program in this letter. Here’s one portion of the letter:

ONC pushed the plan back after it consulted with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), which ONC selected as its approved accreditor (ONC-AA) earlier this year, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which administers the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP). ANSI and NIST said they needed more time to complete the approval of testing labs and certification organizations and ONC to review the applications of the certifiers.

Part of the reasoning for this was for the permanent EHR certification to coincide with the final rule for meaningful use stage 2. I guess it makes sense.

The real challenge I have when thinking about the change from temporary to permanent status is, what will really change? To me this feels mostly like a bureaucratic requirement as opposed to some change that actually provides some sort of benefit.

Will an ONC-ACB provide something of more value than a ONC-ATCB does now? I think not. Will EHR vendors go through a different process with an ONC-ACB compared with what they do now with the ONC-ATCB? I can’t imagine they will. Seems the only ones that should be concerned with this are the ONC-ATCB’s.

Plus, if meaningful use stage 2 gets delayed, then will the permanent EHR certification get delayed again too? Now your ears perk up. Not because anyone cares about the permanent EHR certification, but because a delay in meaningful use stage 2 would be something of note.

November 4, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Mostashari Supports Meaningful Use Stage 2 Delay to 2014

Katherine wrote previously on EMR and EHR about the Meaningful Use Stage 2 delay that was agreed to by the Health IT policy committee. However, that committee is basically just a recommendation engine. They can’t make or create policies. So, it’s pretty big news (although not that unexpected) reported by Government Health IT that Mostashari is supporting the meaningful use stage 2 delay until 2014.

Here’s a short quote from that article:

By giving providers and vendors additional time, requirements for stage 2 can be more rigorous than would otherwise be possible if stage 2 were to begin in 2013 as originally planned, Mostashari said.

“In consideration of these points and the concerns expressed by multiple stakeholders, we agree with the logic of delaying the start of stage 2 of meaningful use for a period of one year for those first attesting to meaningful use in 2011. We also agree that it makes sense to maintain the current expectations for those first attesting to meaningful use in 2012 so that all providers attesting to meaningful use in 2011 or 2012 would attest to stage 2 in 2014,” he said.

Although, the article above also offers some even more interesting comments from Mostashari about those that attest to meaningful use in 2011 versus those who attest to meaningful use in 2012.

Providers who attest to meaningful use at the earliest possible time in 2011 should be rewarded, Mostashari said at the July 6 policy committee meeting. Delaying the onset of stage 2 may encourage more providers to attest in 2011.

“The last thing we want to do is provide a disincentive towards attesting for meaningful use in 2011. We recognize that not accepting your recommendation to delay the start of stage 2 could negatively impact provider participation rates in the EHR incentive program in 2011,” he added.

It’s nice to see Mostashari talking about these sorts of topics in public. They are things that we’ve discussed extensively on EMR and HIPAA and EMR and EHR. It’s a topic that is very important to clinics deciding on how to approach meaningful use.

July 7, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.