We often expect something we experienced before to be not as hard the second time around. We are encouraged by software companies to not to think about MU2 until after we get the latest compliant version of the software installed in our system. There are promises that if we have the software in place on day one of reporting that we will be able to attest.
Yet, Meaningful Use Stage 2 has the potential to be the perfect storm.
I have been on many calls and talked with other Meaningful Use SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) that are not just helping their clients through configuration, but working at warp speed both bailing the water and battening the hatches. We can do it, we are great at it…but the frustrating thing is that we don’t have to let it get to this point.
Meaningful Use Stage 2 has a broader and deeper scope than Stage 1. Many measures that at first glance look the same as last time around are actually much more specific in ways that affect how you organize your data and workflow – Computerized Provider Order Entry is a great example of this. In Stage One, Providers just needed to be placing orders electronically, 90% of our clients were doing this so we were good. In Stage 2 it becomes more specific about the types of orders and will be reporting a percentage for Medications, Labs and Imaging orders. This means that we need to review those dictionaries and ensure that all Labs and Imaging orders are in the correct parent class and that there is nothing extraneous there that might alter our numbers.
“We’re not going to talk about MU2 until after the upgrade” I have heard this from clients as well as software reps, and it’s maybe the most dangerous attitude that anyone on the team could present. We are at a stage in this process that every Organization should have a Meaningful Use SME that they can call when implementing anything new and just ask “Is there anything I am missing here, what should I be thinking about in regards to MU?”
For MU Stage 2 specifically, we know that there is work to be done that is not dependent on the latest and greatest version of the software. Dictionary updates, cleaning up the referring provider dictionary, LOINC & SNOMED updates, identifying & thinking through the gaps between the present day workflow and future state workflow are among the items that can be done well in advance.
Most importantly, don’t rely on software timelines to drive your project. MU2 work should start a full three months prior to the quarter that you want to attest, regardless of infrastructure timelines. If you are planning on reporting in Q3 of this year, you should be looking at all of the measures and reporting requirements now. If you are planning on reporting in Q4, then you should start your review no later than July first. If you doubt the need to start reviewing and configuring now, take a close look at the measure for closing the referral loop. That should get you and your staff motivated to begin as early as possible.