Meaningful Use: Patient Engagement Essential Tips

One of the primary goals of Meaningful Use is to encourage providers to engage patients in their own health care as a means to improve health outcomes. This includes empowering patients to take an active role in their health by giving them access to their health information and the tools needed to facilitate communication with both current and future providers.

To encourage providers to engage with their patients more frequently, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has made some modifications to the Meaningful Use Stage 1 measures and included key patient engagement measures as part of the Stage 2 requirements beginning in 2014.

Provider-facilitated patient engagement

Providers in Stage 1 of Meaningful Use will need to achieve a new core measure called Patient Electronic Access. This measure replaces a previous menu measure that was available between 2011-2013, and requires that more than half of all patients seen during your EHR reporting period be granted online access to their medical records within four business days of their visit. This is also a core requirement for Stage 2 providers. Additionally, Stage 2 providers will need at least 5% of their patients seen during the EHR reporting period to log into their online health records and send at least one secure message to someone in the practice.

These new measures may seem challenging, but Practice Fusion is committed to helping our providers communicate the value of Patient Fusion to their patients. Below are some steps that you can take to increase your engagement with patients:

Give patients access to a Patient Health Record (PHR). Always ask patients if they would like to be enrolled in Patient Fusion, Practice Fusion’s PHR for patients, at each office visit.

  • If a patient is unsure of whether they want access to a PHR, explain the benefits of having online access to their health records, including lab results, medications, diagnoses, and allergies.
  • Ask for email addresses on your intake forms, and ask for a caregiver’s email if the patient does not have one.

Encourage patients to use their Patient Fusion PHR regularly. Providers should encourage and teach patients to log into their Patient Fusion accounts frequently.

  • One way to to encourage use of the PHR is to set up a kiosk in the office so patients can complete their PHR enrollment after their visit with you.
  • Another way to encourage patients to utilize the PHR (and to help meet the Stage 2 measures for patient engagement), is to ask patients who are enrolled in the PHR to complete enrollment and send you a secure message the first time they log in.

While these requirements are new and can seem daunting, giving patients the ability to engage with their health records online will make for a more technologically advanced, healthier future. We plan to create additional resources to help you meet the patient engagement objectives of Meaningful Use and to help share the benefits of engaging in health care and using a PHR with your patients.