Stage 2 “Meaningful Use”: Counting Patients Who Access Their Online Information Before Discharge

Under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 (HITECH Act), eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals must make a “meaningful use” of “certified electronic health technology” or face reductions in Medicare reimbursement during Medicare’s 2015 fiscal year (which begins October 1, 2014).  One of the many Stage 2 requirements includes the following one related to patient on-line access to health records:

Accessing Online Health Records
MU Measure Requires 5% of Discharged Patients to Access Health Information Online

Meaningful Use Core Measures, Measure 6 of 16

“More than 5 percent of all unique patients (or their authorized representatives) who are discharged from the inpatient or emergency department (POS 21 or 23) of an eligible hospital or CAH [must] view, download or transmit to a third party their [online] information during the EHR reporting period.” (Emphasis added.)

A literal reading of this measure prompted hospitals to frequently ask whether a patient who accesses their online health information before they are “discharged” will count towards this meaningful use objective.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) posted an answer to this question that we like and think hospitals will like as well.  CMS says “yes”.   Continue reading