Here are some steps to help you get started down the road to Meaningful Use.
- Review the ACR resources available. If you want to take advantage of meaningful use incentives and avoid the 2015 penalties, the ACR has many resources available for you. Visit www.rheumatology.org/HIT for a point-by-point guide on what the meaningful use regulation means for rheumatology practices as well as other useful educational resources.
- Review requirements, measures, and timelines. Meaningful use will be achieved most successfully if coordinated with your broader HIT plan to support the clinical, administrative, and business functions of your practice.
- Identify your current readiness state. Do you already have an EHR system? If your answer is yes, start a conversation with your vendor regarding their plans for meaningful use. If your answer is no, begin the EHR selection and implementation process. Work with your vendor(s) to ensure that all systems are installed and customized for your practice and that all interfaces are working. Remember that the incentive program begins in 2011, but you have until October of 2012 to begin reporting to receive the full incentive amount.
- Get your team on board and develop a plan. Meet with your clinical and administrative team to identify and assess internal barriers to EHR utilization and meaningful use. Review your practice’s workflow and use of the EHR system.
- Use meaningfully. Begin to use the EHR, tracking all meaningful use objectives. Your practice team is your greatest asset in successfully meeting the meaningful use criteria and metrics, and you should provide ongoing attention to their role in the EHR utilization and the meaningful use program. Coordinate check-ins and regular assessments as well as development and training when necessary, and maintain a high level of continuity throughout the practice.
- Register, report, and improve. Register for the incentive program at www.cms.gov/EHR IncentivePrograms. Make sure you meet all the EHR meaningful use objectives applicable to your practice, and, for objectives with numerical thresholds, that you are attaining the levels specified. If your EHR system is certified EHR technology, it should be capable of support all Stage 1 Meaningful Use Objectives. Monitor the CMS website on EHR Incentive Programs to determine the format of the attestation for 2011 and 2012.
- Influence rulemaking and guidance. As you implement meaningful use, keep the ACR informed. We want to hear about any issues that you have, as well and best practices that you can share with others. We will be tracking your experience and concerns and will use them as we work with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and CMS on Stage 2 and 3 final rules and guidance.
For more information on the CMS EHR Incentive Program—Meaningful Use, visit www.rheumatology.org/HIT.