Meaningful Use Patient Engagement Threshold drops to Just One Patient

One of the more interesting changes in The EHR Incentive Program for 2015 through 2017 Final Rule was the removal of the 5% threshold for two objectives related to patient engagement.

There are two objectives for Eligible Providers (EPs) that specifically contain measures requiring a provider to track patient action. CMS removed the 5% threshold requirement for these two measures that require patient action in order for the provider to meet the measure.

CMS finalized the measures for 2015 as follows:

1. Objective 8: Patient Electronic Access Measure 2

Removed the 5 percent threshold for Measure 2 from the EP Stage 2 Patient Electronic Access (VDT) objective. Instead for an EHR reporting period in 2015 and 2016, at least one patient seen by the EP during the EHR reporting period (or patient-authorized representative) views, downloads or transmits to a third party his or her health information during the EHR reporting period.

2. Objective 9: Secure Electronic Messaging

Converted the measure for the Stage 2 EP Secure Electronic Messaging objective from the 5 percent threshold to a yes/no attestation. For an EHR reporting period in 2015, the capability for patients to send and receive a secure electronic message with the EP was fully enabled during the EHR reporting period. For an EHR reporting period in 2016, for at least 1 patient seen by the EP during the EHR reporting period, a secure message was sent using the electronic messaging function of CEHRT to the patient (or the patient-authorized representative), or in response to a secure message sent by the patient (or the patient-authorized representative) during the EHR reporting period.

Why did CMS cut the threshold to just one patient?

CMS came to a conclusion that while they are fully supportive of patient engagement and believe that providers have a role in influencing patient behavior and supporting improved health literacy among their patients. However, the existing requirements for data analysis on the measures supports concerns expressed by providers that significant barriers exist that heavily impact a provider’s ability to meet the patient action measures. Therefore, CMS chose to remove the threshold for the patient engagement measures in order to allow for further maturity of the technology, greater saturation in the market, and increased awareness among patient population.

CMS wants to provide more time for providers to work toward patient education and the availability of these resources, as well as allowing the industry as a whole time to develop a stronger infrastructure supporting patient engagement.

Practice Fusion is excited to partner with you and to provide you with free training, EHR and resources to be successful with meaningful use.

View our post on the 6 things you need to know about the Final Rule changes to learn more about the new CMS requirements and how we’re here to support you throughout the attestation process.