Meaningful Use

MU compliance requires healthcare providers to use Certified EHR Technology (CEHRT) to improve care quality, safety and efficiency in ways that can be evaluated using qualitative and quantitative measures.

Providers need to demonstrate that they use CEHRT to improve care coordination, engage patients and relatives electronically, maintain the privacy and security of health information, reduce care disparities, and to address public health issues and other priority healthcare goals.

Stages of Meaningful Use

Meaningful Use has been divided into three progressive stages. The stages were designed to focus on:
Stage 1: Data capture and sharing
Stage 2: Advance clinical processes
Stage 3: Improved outcomes

Stage 1:
Meaningful use criteria focus on:
Stage 2 / Modified Stage 2:
Meaningful use criteria focus on:
Stage 3:
Meaningful use criteria focus on:
Electronically capturing health information in a standardized format More rigorous health information exchange (HIE) Improving quality, safety, and efficiency, leading to improved health outcomes
Using that information to track key clinical conditions Increased requirements for e-prescribing and incorporating lab results Decision support for national high-priority conditions
Communicating that information for care coordination processes Electronic transmission of patient care summaries across multiple settings Patient access to self-management tools
Initiating the reporting of clinical quality measures and public health information More patient-controlled data Access to comprehensive patient data through patient-centered HIE
Using information to engage patients and their families in their care   Improving population health

Meaningful Use Measures

Each stage consists of specific measurable objectives, as well as a set of Clinical Quality Measures that generally align with clinical quality objectives used in other CMS programs, such as the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS).

On Oct 16, 2015, CMS published a Final Rule specifying the MU requirements Eligible Professionals (EPs) and Eligible Hospitals (EHs) must meet to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs in 2015 and beyond. The rule’s provisions encompass the Modified Stage 2 requirements as well as Stage 3 Meaningful Use.

Since Program Year 2015, all providers must attest to a single set of objectives and measures, known as Modified Stage 2, which replaces the old core and menu measure structure. In Program Years 2017 and 2018, Stage 3 will be optional. In Program Year 2019, Stage 3 will become mandatory for all participants.

For more information about requirements for:
• Program Year 2021, click here;
• Program Year 2020, click here;
• Program Year 2019, click here;
• Program Year 2018, click here;
• Program Year 2017, click here;
• Program Year 2016, click here;

Some Meaningful Use measures particularly promote the advancement of electronic Patient Engagement as part of the efforts to advance the quality, transparency and efficiency of healthcare through Health IT.

Meaningful Use also measures compliance with the stringent Privacy and Security requirements for handling electronic Protected Health Information (PHI) as mandated by the HIPAA act and its associated rules.

Public Health Measures are incorporated into Meaningful Use to measure compliance with public health reporting, which can be used to study trends and patterns in the health of populations, in order to improve public health.

Implementing Meaningful Use

Eligible Professionals (EPs) and Eligible Hospitals (EHs) can earn incentives for the implementation and Meaningful Use of Certified EHR Technology by participating in the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program.

However, meeting the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program requirements includes attesting to Meaningful Use, which can be challenging. Implementation requires assessments, analysis, workflow redesign, data capture, dashboarding, reporting, and audit preparation.  

To attest to Meaningful Use, we recommend following the 15 step process outlined in the graph. Executing the steps will help you meet the MU regulations and attest to earn EHR incentives.

The various steps in this process reference MeHI's MU Toolkitspresentations and other resources, which provide comprehensive overviews and insights into the requirements to help you along the way.

Furthermore, our Technical Assistance (TA) staff provides free education and guidance to help you achieve Meaningful Use so you can earn the incentives to support the effort. Our TA specialists can clarify the requirements, provide practical interpretations of MU measures, explain what data to capture and report, and provide general guidance on attesting.

Meaningful Use Toolkits

Additional guidance can be found in the Meaningful Use toolkits. They contain resources for program registration, Meaningful Use attestation, and other relevant program support topics for Eligible Professionals and Eligible Hospitals.

MU Toolkit for Eligible Professionals

Tools to help Eligibile Professionals to achieve Meaningful Use of the EHR and participate in the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program

MU Toolkit for Eligible Hospitals

Tools to help Eligibile Hospitals to achieve Meaningful Use of the EHR and participate in the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program

Future of Meaningful Use versus MACRA MIPS

Meaningful Use Stage 3 is not the final goal of the government's efforts to advance Health IT. Most of the Stage 3 objectives transfer into the Advancing Care Information (ACI) performance category of the MACRA MIPS act. Like MU, the ACI category is focused on advancing Health IT to improve the quality of care at lower cost.

EPs who participate in the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program can continue to do so until 2021 to earn the available EHR Incentives. However, EPs who serve Medicare Part B patients should also start participating in MIPS now, in order to maximize their Medicare reimbursements. Read more here.