HIT Policy Meaningful Use Workgroup Tackles Stage 3 Objectives

First Draft of Stage 3 Objectives and Measures

The EHR Incentive programs are structured for eligible professionals and hospitals to meet specific objective measures using certified EHR technology. The programs are building on these objectives and measures in stages. We are currently under Stage 1 rules while Stage 2 rules have been released and will begin in 2014. The objectives are organized into 5 priority health outcome areas that were originally determined as a foundation to meaningful use of certified technology.

  1. Improving quality, safety, efficiency and reducing health disparities.
  2. Engage patients and families in their health care
  3. Ensure adequate privacy and security protections for personal health information.
  4. Improve care coordination.
  5. Improving population and public health.

At the last HIT Policy Committee Meaningful Use Workgroup meeting, Meaningful Use objectives and measures for Stage 3 were proposed in four of the five health outcome priorities. In the 28 page draft document the objective matrix includes the Stage 2 objectives for reference and some items which their stage is undecided. A question column is also included to identify questions the workgroup has and would like comments on. The workgroup is informally soliciting and welcoming comments on the draft.

[Related Article: Draft Recommendations for Stage 3 Meaningful Use]

The workgroup is also recommending new and additional objectives to be integrated in Stage 3 meaningful use. This is an attempt to focus on outcomes and performance improvements while incorporating federal health care initiatives. Their example is the HHS Million Hearts initiative to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes in the next five years. The workgroup believes that “all health care providers who provide direct patient care have a role to play in improving high blood pressure control and cardiovascular health in the United States. Systematic, information-driven quality improvement can yield great impact”. Some of these additions were suggested by the CDC. The additions include identifying and reporting patient with hypertension, requiring blood pressure NQF as core, referring tobacco users to public health sponsored quitting programs, and opposes retiring the requirement to record and report patient smokers.

The HIT Policy Committee meets once a month and members of the public are welcome to attend in person. Participation in the meetings are also available by webconference or audio teleconference. Detailed instructions for participating remotely and meeting materials will be posted to the ONC’s Federal Advisory Committee website as they become available. The next Committee meeting will be November 7th.

The Meaningful Use Workgroup makes recommendations to the HIT Policy Committee on how to define meaningful use in the short and long-term; the ways in which electronic health records (EHRs) can support meaningful use; and how providers can demonstrate meaningful use. The workgroup’s next meeting is November 27th.