Clinical Summaries for Patients

Meaningful Use Objective for Clinical Summary

Join us each week for our FAQ Friday. This week we have posted a direct question and answer from CMS on meeting a meaningful use objective related to providing clinical summaries for patients. Find more questions and answers on their FAQ site..

Question: What information must an eligible professional give to meet the meaningful use objective “provide a clinical summary for patients for each office visit.”

Answer: The Final Rule defines “clinical summary” as:

An after-visit summary that provides a patient with relevant and actionable information and instructions containing, but not limited to, the patient name, provider’s office contact information, date and location of visit, an updated medication list, updated vitals, reason(s) for visit, procedures and other instructions based on clinical discussions that took place during the office visit, any updates to a problem list, immunizations or medications administered during visit, summary of topics covered/considered during visit, time and location of next appointment/testing if scheduled, or a recommended appointment time if not scheduled, list of other appointments and tests that the patient needs to schedule with contact information, recommended patient decision aids, laboratory and other diagnostic test orders, test/laboratory results (if received before 24 hours after visit), and symptoms.

The EP needs to include all of the above that can be populated into the clinical summary by certified EHR technology. If the EP’s certified EHR technology cannot populate all of the above fields, then at a minimum the EP must provide in a clinical summary the data elements for which all EHR technology is certified for the purposes of this program (according to §170.304(h)):

  • Problem List
  • Diagnostic Test Results
  • Medication List
  • Medication Allergy List

This answer applies to clinical summaries generated by certified EHR technology for electronic or paper dissemination. Also, if one form of dissemination (paper or electronic) has a more limited set of fields than the other, this does not serve as a limit on the other form. For example, certified EHR technology may be capable of populating a clinical summary with a greater number of data elements when the clinical summary is provided to the patient electronically than when the clinical summary is printed on paper. When the clinical summary in this example is provided electronically, it should include all of the above elements that can be populated by the certified EHR technology. The clinical summary would not be limited by the data elements that are capable of being displayed on a paper printout.