Now that the Stage 2 meaningful use standards are available, health care providers should start planning to implement attestation requirements. Providers cannot begin to attest until 2014. However, providers should consider two factors that indicate the need to plan. First, the requirements for both stages of attestation are now more rigorous than before, and providers will no longer be able to count exclusions toward their non-core objectives. Second, the number of core objectives that providers must meet has significantly increased.
In particular, providers should plan to meet one of two new Stage 2 core objectives. Eligible physicians must use secure electronic messaging to communicate with patients on relevant health information. Eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals must use automatic medication tracking from order to administration using assistive technologies and an electronic medication administration record. Providers should also keep in mind that many of the objectives that carry over from Stage 1 to Stage 2 have significantly higher thresholds. To meet these thresholds, providers should consider the use of external audits and implementation planning to meet Stage 2 requirements in 2014.
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