Hos­pi­tals given some mean­ing­ful use breath­ing room

Modern Healthcare - - NEWS - By Rachel Z. Arndt

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.

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