How to meet Stage 2 meaningful use standards

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) electronic health records (EHRs) incentive program officially entered Stage 2 in 2014.

If you have participated in the Medicare or Medicaid EHR incentive program for more than a year, you will have to meet Stage 2 meaningful use standards to continue earning payment bonuses.

Features and functions

Stage 2 EHR meaningful use centers largely around using EHR "interconnectivity" functions. These functions allow you to exchange health information as well as provide such information to patients electronically.

To meet Stage 2 meaningful use standards, you must also use features such as:

  • Computerized physician order entry (CPOE)
  • Online clinical decision support
  • Adverse drug interaction warnings for specified numbers or percentages of patients
  • E-prescribing

You must provide patients with access to their health information on demand through secure practice websites and email. In addition, standards require that you conduct patient follow-ups and answer patient questions electronically.

Changes to the reporting period

During 2014 only, if you're beyond your first year of demonstrating meaningful use, you will have a three-month reporting period.

The HHS generally requires you to report compliance for an entire calendar year to qualify for EHR incentive payments. The 2014 change allows you additional time to upgrade EHR systems to Stage 2 standards—but ODs should aim to upgrade as soon as possible. Most EHR vendors either have Stage 2 updates ready or are preparing to introduce them.

March 5, 2014

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