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Health: Why Engage Meaningful Use Stage 2 Consultants?

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Irrespective of the competence a healthcare provider has, it can be an extremely challenging experience to achieve successful Meaningful Use (MU) as per schedule. The issue becomes all the more difficult because even though many healthcare providers have attested to Stage 1 of Meaningful Use and received the incentive payments, the next stage has requirements that are even more rigorous.

The exchange of health information and engagement of patients are now required to adhere to more core measures and fresh menu measures so that healthcare providers are able to build the foundation for the much improved patient care and outcomes as laid down in the Stage 3 of MU. It can be really difficult for healthcare providers to achieve all the standards on their own; so, in many cases it makes eminent sense to engage the services of a Meaningful Use consultant to show them the way.

The Scope of Meaningful Use Stage 2 Consultancy

It is beneficial to engage Meaningful Use Stage 2 consultants because they are extremely well conversant with the latest criteria applicable to MU, best practices as well as CMS certification and requirements of reporting. Since consultants have experience with a large number of organizations, they are able to quickly spot and iron out the customer deficiencies and assist them to establish a Meaningful Use program that is sustainable.

Typically the services of MU consultants include evaluation of readiness, analysis of the gap and customized assessment of needs. They will also assist clients to develop strategies for governance as well as complete project management and allocation of resources. MU consultants are also expected to help clients to develop strategies for acquiring data pertinent to Clinical Quality Measurement (CQM) reporting.

They will invariably play a leading role in aligning physicians and hospitals, together with readiness strategies for ACO and HIE.Experienced Meaningful Use Stage 2 consultants will conduct analysis of the Medicare and Medicaid Incentive Program as well as extend assistance for preparing for the audit.

They play a key role in development of the patient web portal and implementation of secure patient communications, besides conducting assessments of the associated security risks. Among the other tasks an MU consultant is expected to do is to assist customers with the preparation for self-certification of procedures and systems as specified under the 2014 certification standards of EHR technology (CEHRT) and engage in planning that will extend beyond attestation so as to achieve added value for the HIT systems.

Meaningful Use – An Opportunity for Embracing New Technology

Apart from making their customers sensitive to new processes and standards that are a part of Meaningful Use Stage 2, MU consultants play a key role in making their clients adopt and embrace new technology for improved patient engagement and outcome. Adoption and efficient use of computer and information technology not only leads to increase in market share and revenues but also makes clients eligible to receive ARRA/HITECH funding.

The focus of MU Stage 2 criteria when compared to Stage 1 is on the exchange of patients’ clinical information and to provide patients access to their data online. The Federal Government on August 23, 2012 released the final version of the rules applicable to Meaningful Use Stage 2, while Center for Medicare & Medicaid Sciences (CMS) proposed the revised implementation timeline for MUEHR on December 6, 2013.

By engaging a MU consultant, clients can be in a better position to adhere to the challenging implementations, stiff deadlines, constrains of budgets, organization culture alignment, staff cooperation and evolving standards. Most importantly, the assistance of a consultant will enable clients to get the adoption of MU right the very first attempt so that there is all round less frustration and disappointment that arises from getting it wrong and failing.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com

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