The electronic health records (EHR) Meaningful Use rules is the best roadmap the government developed to prepare for the delivery of higher quality care. Meaningful Use rules consist of a series of milestone requirements, divided into stages, which eligible professionals must attest compliance through the effective use and adoption of EHR technology. Successfully meeting the requirements of each stage is the driver that qualifies eligible professionals to receive EHR incentive payments.
The EHR incentive programs are administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The government opened registration to eligible professionals for the EHR incentive programs in January of 2011.
The effort to delay Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements represents the opportunity to get more medical facilities and physicians engaged around adopting EHR.
The Health Information Technology Policy Committee ruled in favor of delaying the electronic health records (EHR) Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements start date from 2013 to 2014.
Dr. Farzad Moshashari, the national coordinator for Health Information Technology, is in support of the Health IT Policy Committee recommendation.
“The last thing we want to do is provide a disincentive towards attesting for meaningful use in 2011,” Moshashari told the committee at a July meeting. “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.”
So what is contributing to the nationwide EHR adoption opportunity? The answer to the question is perception. The aggressive efforts of the US Department of Health and Human Services through the Centers of Medicare & Medicaid to promote adoption of EHR technology through incentives are leaving both eligible and non eligible professionals skeptical. This explains large number of public and private medical facilities and practices of all sizes yet to make the move towards EHR adoption.
There are many reasons for this apprehensive view but one really stands out from the crowd. Let’s face it, while there has not been an official statement released by the US government calling for mandatory EHR adoption, many of those who are in a wait-and-see mode believe that it is a mandate. This perception is resulting in many practices waiting until the very last minute to adopt the technology. If this posture does not change, the U.S. health care system may begin to experience differentiated levels of patient care between physicians who practice medicine using EHR technology versus those that do not.
Therefore, the recommendation to delay Stage 2 is a positive move that should result in higher Meaningful Use adoption rates of EHR technology while clearing the air of the paradigm that is impeding forward progress. The final decision on Stage 2 Meaningful Use timing will not be official until the final rules are issued sometime during the summer of 2012.
Providing physicians the platform to deliver high quality care for patients is what Meaningful Use adoption of EHR technology is really all about.
Physicians may review eligibility requirements and register for either the Medicare or Medicaid EHR incentive program by visiting:

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