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30 Apr 2015 

Achieving HIPAA Compliance For Stage 2 Meaningful Use

Stage 2, the current phase of Meaningful use, is focused towards the accessibility of their medical records afforded to patients. This goes hand in hand with maintaining the information in a secure and safe way, in a manner prescribed by the HIPAA rules and regulations. For example, Stage 2 attestation entails that the medical professional throws in educational information when they meet and discuss with a patient, so as to improve the overall quality of healthcare. Such measures can be easily implemented and regulated with the use of HIPAA compliance software. This can ensure that attainment of the major objectives which fall under the Stage 2 requirements.

Maintaining Electronic Health Records 

One of the major concerns under the currently applicable HIPAA guidelines is the increased accessibility of patient information by patients themselves. Electronic patient health information, or ePHI, is the one sure way to bring this about. Meaningful Use Stage 2 requires those organizations which attested to Stage 1, to meet a more specific set of requirements this time over. Doing this qualifies them to receive incentives. The new requirements include that more information be submitted electronically, in order to attest to a change in the patient information management.

Organizations can get incentives under the Meaningful Use Stage 2, by doing the following. 


  • Shift focus from traditional paper documentation, to electronic information recording. 

  • Making electronic health information available to patients in a short time after it is requested. 

  • Educating patients on their healthcare status and submitting said information with federal and state health organizations.


Educational and Statistical Information 

HIPAA compliance software is a requirement for practices looking for Meaningful Use Stage 2 eligibility. It allows organizations to prove their compliance with Stage 2, as long as the software in use is also compliant. Stage 2 requires physicians and other healthcare providers to keep patients in the know how about their treatment. The upcoming Stage 3 will stress on this point even more heavily, with patient education playing a vital role by the time it sets in. 

Essentially, these patients should be made able to download or view their health records, making it easier for them to find treatment anywhere in the country.

Hospitals need to make sure that they observe the guidelines set in place for attesting to stage 2. HIPAA compliance software is a major step towards this, which can help organizations reach the required compliance level with minimal upsetting of their existent practice methods.

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17 Apr 2015 

Understanding Meaningful Use Attestation

In terms of Health Information Technology (HIT), meaningful use attestation is a process that several organizations or individuals use to fulfill various requirements for electronic health records (EHR) and related technology. It has been successfully demonstrated to be of meaningful use and will continue to fill the requirements of electronic health records.

Concisely, medical attestation is a process that is used to validate an information to be true and genuine. This means the healthcare organizations must demonstrate meaningful use in order to validate receiving payments from the federal government under the Medicare or Medicaid HER incentive program. Thus, the office of the national Coordinator for Health IR, along with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has put together a list of Electronic Health Record products that are used for the medical attestation of meaningful use. All this lies under the CMS Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Program.

Provisions defined in the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 relay that the organization eligible for Medicare HER incentive program will have to attest to meaningful use by 2014 in order to be eligible for HER incentive payments. Thus, the providers must attest to meaningful use attestation Stage 1 for two years before they can qualify for moving into the Stage 2 program. The same goes for Stage 3 program for which the organization needs experience in Stage 2 program for a minimum of 2 years. All criteria and requirements for this procedure are met by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT. Hence, the institutions that are eligible for Medicaid program will have to demonstrate meaningful use by 2016 in order to qualify for payments. Moreover, using the meaningful use attestation system also aims to create a more robust research data on large systems like medical healthcare. There are numerous benefits from meaningful use attestation. By implementing this system, you can improve quality, safety, efficiency, and reduce health disparities. 

Moreover, this also improves the care coordination at the same time, engaging both the patient and the family, which expands to benefit the population and hence the public health. This system is capable of maintaining privacy and security of the patient health information, yet ensuring both transparency and efficiency.

All in all, this system is a win-win situation wherein every member, from individual patients to care providers to public healthcare, benefits from streamlining the entire system to increase efficiency.

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02 Apr 2015 

Michigan Rec’s Goal Of Helping 3,700 Doctors Achieve MU Of EHR Accomplished

The Michigan’s Regional Extension Center was appointed the task of helping 3,724 eligible physicians achieve Meaningful Use of Electronic Health Record technology (EHR). Recently, it announced the achievement of the original grant funded goal. This program was officially funded by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and led by the Altarum Institute.

The effective implementation of EHRs has been observed to be useful to minimize errors, increase co-operation with patients, and improve practice workflow. The M-CEITA’s program has been much helpful for physicians to reap the benefits of health information technology, which has made EHR implementation easier, and also to comprehend the inflow of patients from across the state.

There are 62 centers similar to M-CEITA across the country, which help low-resource groups along with hands-on technical assistance. M-CEITA provides assistance for healthcare centers and physicians in rural, urban and critical access areas to achieve MU requirements. These healthcare centers lack the technical knowledge and workforce to achieve Meaningful Use attestations themselves, and M-CEITA’s work in this regard is commendable.

The Government Accountability Office reports that those providers and healthcare centers that work in association with the REC are two times more likely to receive incentives through the EHR incentive program. The report also highlighted that almost $80 million has been paid through such incentive programs to clients of M-CEITA within Michigan, which has boosted the MU implementation considerably.

Dan Armijo, vice president and director of Altarum Institute’s Health Innovation and Technical Assistance group commented, “Our center is the fifth largest in the country and has helped thousands of practices struggling to meet Meaningful Use criteria and train those that lack the in-house expertise to attain success.” It is interesting to note that M-CEITA’s program has done more to help improve MU implementation than what it was originally funded for.

MDCH is currently working closely with M-CEITA on two programs that work to improve health information technology practices such that hypertensive and diabetic patients get better care and support. In addition, the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) recently awarded additional funding support for M-CEITA to help healthcare providers in the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program with final stages of Meaningful Use.

Anya Day, director for Center for Implementation Science at Altarum Institute says, “It’s exciting to see the continued growth of the program and how it’s impacting the community. Going forward, these skills and technologies will greatly impact the health and well-being of our state for decades to come.”

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