Meaningful Use Attestation – Not As Hard As I Thought

September 26, 2011

After months of anxiety over … attestation to prove “meaningful use,” it turns out it wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it was going to be.

After months of anxiety over the CMS EHR incentive program attestation to prove “meaningful use,” it turns out it wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it was going to be.

Since we started planning to attest, I have concentrated on the requirements. The core measures and the menu sets. What is a visit summary and how is that different from a summary of care? What is considered a transition of care? What if patients don’t request an electronic copy of their records?

In reality, we were doing most everything CMS wanted us to, at least the things that were pertinent to our practice. Everyone had vital signs taken at every visit, with the exception of people coming purely for procedures, which is the minority. We asked about smoking. Our EMR does automatic drug-drug and drug-allergy interaction checks.

We did have to change the way we documented a few things. Although smoking was in the personal/social history, we now have to click on a box at the “Plan” part of our visit note stating the patient’s smoking status and if we discussed cessation. Although, we already did a medication reconciliation (comparing what’s in our record with a written list from the patient), we now have to click on a box that says we’ve done it. A couple of other changes here and there were made. But I was worried that we wouldn’t meet some of the other technical goals, particularly those dealing with electronic exchange of information. Most of my patients don’t ask for an electronic copy of their visit note or their records. The majority wouldn’t know what to do with it. Heck, they throw out the paper ones we give them. And the local doctors? They want things faxed to them. They don’t ask for an electronic copy either. I did have two patients who are moving out of state, and I voluntarily created an electronic copy of their records and put them on discs, but I don’t know how things went on the receiving end.

Anyway, we decided to give attesting a shot, and figured we’d learn from our mistakes, and we would still have three months left in the calendar year to fix things. Well, lo and behold, it seems to have gone through flawlessly. As far as we can tell, we are just waiting on a check.

So after all my sleepless night and my grinding of teeth, and my venting here at Physicians Practice, it seems that with a few clicks of a mouse, we have gotten through. I’ll let you know when the incentive comes in.

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