CMS outlines next steps for MU

The future of meaningful use will be more focused on outcomes, promoting innovation and prioritizing interoperability, according to an update from CMS.

CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt and National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD, provided the first details of the future of EHR incentive programs since Mr. Slavitt announced last week the agency's intention to dismantle meaningful use.

At the J.P. Morgan Annual Healthcare Conference, Mr. Slavitt said, "the meaningful use program as it has existed will now be effectively over and replaced with something better."

In the update from CMS published Tuesday, Mr. Slavitt and Dr. DeSalvo said the focus of EHR use will shift from measuring clicks to focusing on care. Through dialogues with physician and consumer communities, CMS developed the following critical principles that will drive new EHR regulations:

  1. Reward providers for outcomes technology helps them achieve with patients.
  2. Allow the flexibility to customize health IT to providers' individual practice needs.
  3. Level the technology playing field by requiring open application programming interfaces to promote innovation and lower barriers to entry.
  4. Prioritize interoperability and focus on "real-world uses" of IT, such as continuity of care needs and engaging patients with their care.

The new program guiding provider use of EHRs will come under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015. "While MACRA provides an opportunity to adjust payment incentives associated with EHR incentives in concert with the principles we outlined here, it does not eliminate it, nor will it instantly eliminate all the tensions of the current system," according to the update. 

In a previous interview with Becker’s Hospital Review, Dan Golder, DDS, principal at Impact Advisors, outlined how MU might function within MACRA.

While the new regulations are being developed, existing meaningful use requirements are still in effect, including stage 3, according to the update.

"The challenge with any change is moving from principles to reality," the update states. "The process will be ongoing, not an instant fix and we must all commit to learning and improving and collaborating on the best solutions. Ultimately, we believe this is a process that will be most successful when physicians and innovators can work together directly to create the best tools to care for patients."

Mr. Slavitt and Dr. DeSalvo said additional details will arrive in the coming months.

More articles on health IT:

Reflections on the meaningful use program's end and its replacement
athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush administers CPR to man suffering heart attack
The end of meaningful use: 6 health IT leaders react

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