What is Meaningful Use? (MU)

Read more about this on http://hl7engine.com/meaningful-use/

Let us try to understand Meaningful Use (MU) as easy as possible. If any in-depth standards information is needed, regarding Meaningful Use, I suggest this blog.

Imagine there exist a physician named Dr.John Doe.

Dr.John Doe is practicing medicine in some part of USA. Dr.John Doe has a clinic (only outpatient involved) where the information about recurring and critical patients were stored in large paper files.

Imagine that Dr. John Doe is consulting in his clinic for 10 years and data of his patients piling up. Day-by-day the  time required to search the recurring patient is increasing.  Last month, there was a bad water-leak on top floor of his clinic damaging at least 5 years of patient information. Oops that’s a serious problem now which puts his job in jeopardy.

Dr.John Doe & Meaningful Use

Dr.John Doe now takes a wise decision. By converting all his paper works to digitized or electronically transformed health record in a computer system. But, what’s stopping him is the cost involved in getting these things done.

Because to get this transition done Dr.John Doe has to purchase an EMR first. Implement it in his clinic and setup infrastructure for it. Train his receptionist or nurses to use it. And all these comes with a cost. But, Dr.John Doe was happy when he came to know that government provides incentives for this adoption. But Dr.John can’t just buy any EHR and leave it, instead he has to show a meaningful use with this EHR.

So, to sum up all Meaningful Use is the adoption of Certified EHR technology.

Which means Dr.John Doe cannot buy any EHR, but an EHR that is certified by appropriate authority.  The authority that certifies should check for basic eligibility criteria of the EHR. This is in fact forms the 1st stage out of the three stages of meaningful use.


Now Dr.John Doe is still not clear and expects a clear cut answer for the following questions as shown in the picture

Answer for First Question:

Answers for the first question is somewhat clear to John Doe but to provide a clear cut explanation, the physician has to do two things to qualify for the money.

  1. Get a government certified EHR
  2. Demonstrate a meaningful use with the EHR. This means to show proof to the government authority that EHR is properly implemented according to their expected criteria.

The list of criteria is provided in a list of 25 aspects provided by the depart of health & human services and it is broken into two major parts.

  1. Core Set
  2. Menu Set

Core Set: This is the list of basic requirement list of 15 aspects that all the EHR must follow. Whenever the EHR is subjected for the certification aspect, the certification bodies will test for all the core set objectives to be available in the EHR.

Menu Set: The Menu Set is the list of 10 requirements out of which the EHR’s have the liberty to choose any 5 aspect. In other not all the 10 aspects are required to pass the certification.

So basically there are a minimum of 20 aspects that are required to eligible for the incentive criteria. If Dr. John Doe is going to purchase a EHR he must make sure it is certified with all the minimum 20 aspects. Obviously now Dr.John Doe has the answer for his first question.

Answer for the Second question:

To answer the second question, it heavily depends on which incentive program the physician depends on. There are two incentive programs

  1. Medicare
  2. Medicaid.

With Medicare the physicians can get up to 75% of the incentives up to $44,000 over four years and with medicaid, on the other hand if the physician handles or sees more than 30% of medicaid patients then he can get up to $64,000 over six years.

Which means sooner the healthcare providers adopt the system the more the money they will receive as incentives. Now to proceed further for this answer, the medicare and medicaid are basically insurance policies adopted by the US government.

Medicare applies to the patient who are more than 65 years of age irrespective of the gender while medicaid applies to  the underprivileged people. These incentive scheme are brought to implementation by HITECH abbreviated as Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health act.

HITECH is one of the act passed along with the stimulus package (a.k.a) ARRA act abbreviated as American Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed by President Obama in 2009 as a part of meaningful use development process.


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