Hospitals given some meaningful use breathing room
Hospitals—and vendors—have a little more time to update their electronic health record systems thanks to the government’s new meaningful-use timeline.
As part of its sweeping inpatient prospective payment rule, the CMS last week said hospitals can continue to use 2014 certified EHRs through the end of 2018. They’ll have to switch to 2015 certified EHR technology in 2019. This applies to Medicare payment and policies for patients discharged from hospitals between Oct. 1, 2017, and Sept. 30, 2018.
That’s welcome news to hospital chief information officers who have warned that there is a dearth of 2015 certified products on the market. Right now, 96 products are certified for the 2015 edition, according to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s Certified Health IT Product List, compared to 3,749 certified for the 2014 edition.
“By no longer requiring these new systems be in place by the start of 2018, a huge weight has been lifted off our collective shoulders,” said Liz Johnson, chair of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives and CIO of acute-care hospitals and applied clinical informatics at Tenet Healthcare Corp.
The final inpatient rule also changes the reporting period requirements. Now, hospitals can report clinical quality measures for just one quarter of 2017, rather than for the full year, easing another burden and potentially putting off when hospitals need to be ready to report, as they could start reporting as late as October 2018.