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Customer Experience and Design

When the Simple Becomes Difficult: Measure 12 of Meaningful Use Stage 1

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) introduced in early 2009 provides reimbursement incentives for Medicare and Medicaid to physician and hospital providers who meet the requirements of implementing “meaningful use” with an electronic medical record (EMR) or electronic health record (EHR) certified system. The reimbursements start in October 2011 and continue through 2015 with a declining scale. One of the most challenging of the Meaningful Use Core Measures is Measure 12 – Electronic Copy of Health Information which states: “Provide patients with an electronic copy of their health information (including diagnostic test results, problem list, medication lists, medication allergies) upon request.” The rule defines how success is measured: More than 50 percent of all patients who request an electronic copy of their health information are provided it within 3 business days. Meeting this requirement is one where the simple request can become difficult to fulfill.

The provider is permitted, but not required, to limit the measure of this objective to those patients whose records are maintained using certified EHR technology. The question for the provider with an EMR application in place is what method for delivery of the information? The rule further states that the form and format should be human readable and comply with the HIPAA Privacy Rule, as specified at 45 CFR 164.524(c). The media could be any electronic form such as patient portal, PHR, CD, USB fob, etc. and providers are encouraged to make reasonable accommodations for patient preference.

Meaningful Use and Patient Portals

Creating a patient portal would make the implementation of this Meaningful Use rule much simpler and allow for the tracking of requests to calculate the values to be submitted. The patient could file the request for electronic records through the patient portal and, if the records are available, validate the patient, and send an email offering the records to print, download or view. If the records are to be downloaded, then there could be an option for transfer to a Personal Health Record compatible format. If the patient portal can offer two or more factor user authentication, like a banking site, then the request could be considered as immediate and the statistics updated for reporting.

If you are implementing an EMR application, now is the time to evaluate the quality and capability of its patient portal. In addressing the 3 day rule for electronic copy of health information, it can make the difference in more than just the implementation costs, it can save valuable time and result in a more satisfied patient.

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Martin Sizemore

Enterprise Architect with specialized skills in Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). Consultant and a trusted advisor to Chief Executive Officers, COOs, CIOs and senior managers for global multi-national companies and healthcare organizations. Deep industry experience as a consultant in manufacturing, healthcare and financial services industries. Broad knowledge of IBM hardware and software offerings with numerous certifications and recognitions from IBM including On-Demand Computing and SOA Advisor. Experienced with Microsoft general software products and architecture, including Sharepoint and SQL Server. Deep technical skills in system integration, system and software selection, data architecture, data warehousing and infrastructure design including virtualization.

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