On Wednesday, the Health IT Policy Committee approved recommendations from its "meaningful use" work group, which called for a relaxation of the standards that health care providers must meet to demonstrate meaningful use of electronic health records, NextGov reports.
The committee submitted their recommendations in a letter to National Coordinator for Health IT David Blumenthal (Brewin, NextGov, 2/17).
Initial federal proposals called for health care providers to perform 25 different measures of meaningful use to receive federal incentive payments. The measures were grouped by priority areas, which include:
- Care coordination;
- Patient engagement;
- Privacy and security;
- Public health; and
- Quality and safety (Mosquera, Government Health IT, 2/17).
In their recommendations, the Policy Committee called for the federal government to abandon its previous "all or nothing" approach and allow health care providers to defer up to five proposed measures from 2011 to 2013 (Goedert, Health Data Management, 2/17).
Under the recommendations, health care providers could not defer all measures from a single priority area (Government Health IT, 2/17).
In addition, no deferrals would be permitted in the privacy and security priority area.
The committee also recommended that certain meaningful use measures should remain mandatory, such as:
- Providing patients with electronic copies of discharge instructions;
- Recording patient demographics as structured data;
- Transmitting certain prescriptions electronically; and
- Using computerized physician order entry systems.
In addition to relaxing the meaningful use measures, the Policy Committee also adopted 11 other work group suggestions (Health Data Management, 2/17).
The Policy Committee will submit its recommendations to CMS in a letter by March 1.
CMS is accepting public comment on the meaningful use rules through mid-March and is expected to publish its final rule in late spring (Government Health IT, 2/17).