Healthcare providers must also provide a summary-of-care document within 24 hours after patients finish their treatment. In Stage 1, providers only had to provide a patient problem list, an active medication list, a medication allergy list and diagnostic test lab results when they were available.
Now all those fields are required within 24 hours, meaning providers will have to maintain lists, along with 15 to 20 other fields such as care plans and patient address information, Anthony said.
Physicians and hospitals also must now record new demographics, vital signs and the smoking status for at least 80% of patients.
"Generating patient lists and providing reminders for preventative or follow-up care for patients have also moved from a menu item to a core item in Stage 2," Anthony said.
Another first for Stage 2 is that at least 10% of summary-of-care documents must be sent electronically to an unaffiliated healthcare provider with an entirely different EHR platform. "The idea here is really to be moving beyond closed networks of information exchange," Anthony said.
Hospitals and private physician practices must adhere to Meaningful Use rules to qualify for Medicare and/or Medicaid EMR reimbursements , which admittedly only cover a fraction of the costs to implement the technology. Eligible practices can receive up to $44,000 over five years under the Medicare EHR Incentive Program. To get the maximum incentive payment, Medicare professonals who are eligible must begin participation this year.
Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
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