Patient Portal a Necessity for Stage 2 Meaningful Use

Providers, Hospitals need a Patient Portal to meet Stage 2 Meaningful Use

The release of proposed Stage 2 requirements has everyone jumping on the Patient Portal bandwagon.  As one of our contributing experts Ron Sterling says “Patient Portals in Stage 2 won’t be choice, they will be a necessity.” You don’t have to search long or far to find out what some leading bloggers, Health IT media and industry experts have to say about Patient Portals. Here’s a sampling.

Leading Health IT Evangelist Brian Ahier wrote in his recap of proposed Stage 2 meaningful use requirements:  The requirement that patients have electronic access to their information is proposed to become that patients have used the capability to access and download their information and have communication preferences stated, as well as a requirement that 10% patients get reminders for preventive, follow-up care. Patients will have the right to view and download (on demand) relevant information contained in the longitudinal record, which has been updated within 4 days of the information being available to the practice. There is also a new requirement for Eligible Hospitals (EH)s that 80% of patients offered the ability to view and download via a web-based portal, within 36 hours of discharge, relevant information contained in the record about EH inpatient encounters. It will be required that data are available in human-readable and structured forms. (A web portal as defined as online access to health information. Therefore all patient portals defined as such are subject to HIPPA rules and regulations.)

Craig Byer of Health IT Exchange in his recent post The predicament for providers, patients in stage 2 meaningful use writes: While stage 2 meaningful use calls for increased patient engagement, a new proposed core requirement would require more than half of an eligible provider’s (EP) patients receive online access to their medical records within four days of the records becoming available to the physician. For eligible hospitals, they would be mandated to offer inpatient and emergency department patients online access within 36 hours of discharge. The kicker, though, is 10% of patients must view, download or transmit their health information. This objective moves from its current place in the stage 1 menu set to a core requirement in stage 2.

Joseph Goedert of HealthDataManagment wrote in his April 1st post Meaningful Use Stage 2 Brings Cheers, Fears: When the proposed Stage 2 electronic health records meaningful use rules came out in February, providers, vendors, consultants and attorneys reading the hundreds of pages had many “Ah-Hah!” moments when they came across a surprising paragraph or a new objective immediately recognized as problematic. However, some stakeholders are finding other criteria unsettling. For instance, the rule calls for eligible professionals to provide more than 50 percent of patients the ability to view online, download and transmit their health information within four business days of the information being available to the EP; and within 36 hours of discharge for hospitals. But that’s only half the battle, as more than 10 percent of patients actually have to view, download or transmit. How is that supposed to happen?

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