"Meaningful Use" Medicare Guidelines
According to the Medicare Newsgroup, incentive programs are designed to reward health care providers financially for “meaningful use” of electronic health records (EHR). The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, which authorizes the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to provide the incentive payments, reports that meaningful use has three main elements: 1. Using certified EHRs for e-prescribing; 2. Using EHR technology for the electronic exchange of health information to improve quality of care; and 3. Using EHR technology to submit clinical quality measures to the CMS.
In order to receive Medicare EHR incentive payments, health care providers must install and begin using the technology or upgrade existing technology or demonstrate meaningful use during their first year of participation. After that, they arr required to demonstrate continued meaningful on an annual basis.
Hospitals seeking incentive payments must meet 19 out of 24 meaningful use objectives. Eligible hospitals must also achieve 14 required "core objectives," such as providing patients with electronic copies of their discharge instructions upon request. In addition, hospitals need to select five objectives, such as recording advance directives for patients age 65 and older.