CMS Wants Test EMRs To Help Providers Meet Stage 2 Objectives

CMS has begun seeking EMRs that hospitals and providers can use to test whether they meet three of Meaningful Use Stage 2’s transition of care objective, according to iHealthBeat.

Under Meaningful Use Stage 2, providers must either successfully meet the transition of care requirement in one of two ways, either by successfully performing one electronic exchange of a summary of care document with a recipient using a different technology, or, successfully conduct at least one exchange test with a CM-designed test EMR during the EMR reporting period.

Vendors have been given instructions on how to get involved. CMS has set up a new website explaining how developers’ products can become designated test EMRs, which lists the minimum set of technical capabilities for participation.

If they meet CMS’s standards, all designated test EMRs will register with a software system hosted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which will randomly match providers with a designated EMR that’s different from their own to allow them to meet the transition-of-care objective.

While this sounds like a reasonable way to get one aspect of Meaningful Use handled, it’s worth remembering that many medical groups are concerned about the entire Stage 2 package. A few months ago, the head of the Medical Group Management Association wrote a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius arguing that her members faced serious issues in stepping up to Stage 2.

The MGMA leader, president and CEO Susan Turney, noted that many vendors are proving slow to produce Stage 2-certified products, leaving practices in the lurch. In fact, when the letter was written (August), there were only 75 products and 21 complete EMRs certified for Stage 2 criteria, a tiny fraction of the more than 2,200 products and nearly 1,400 complete EMRs certified under 2011 criteria for ambulatory eligible professionals.

I don’t know about you, but to me this is a no-brainer: isn’t this certification gap where CMS should be focusing its Meaningful Use compliance efforts?

About the author

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.