Meaningful Use of Patient Portals
Posted by Heidi Wurpel
The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) based reimbursement for certified Electronic Health Record (EHR)/Electronic Medical Record (EMR) technology on "Meaningful Use". Both Medicare and Medicaid make incentive payments under HITECH. However, "meaningful use" standards become increasingly stringent each year.
Hospitals and medical practices who have received reimbursements simply for having an EHR/EMR that includes a patient portal (even if it was turned off) will not only need to turn on their patient portals to continue receiving reimbursement but will also need to start showing that a percentage of their employee population is actively using the patient portal.
The success of meeting this requirement is likely to hinge on the strength of the medical provider's patient communications. On surveys, patients almost always express desire for telemedicine, e-mail communications with their provider, electronic prescription refill requests, and 24-hour self-scheduling abilities. However, getting patients to break old habits and utilize these new patient portal technologies will take more than just flipping a switch. How do you do this?
Conducting leg-work today for the patient portal requirements of tomorrow will help increase your chances of receiving reimbursements and effectively showing meaningful use.