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From the Consultant’s Corner 9/21/13

September 21, 2013 Guest articles No Comments

Get Ready, Here it Comes: Tips to Prepare for MU Stage 2
By Jason Drusak

This year is flying by. It seems like just yesterday that Meaningful Use (MU) Stage 1 kicked off. As we head into the last half of 2013, we’re thinking about the move from MU Stage 1 to MU Stage 2.

Since 2014 is implementation year for Stage 2, you’ll need to prepare for it in the third and fourth quarters of this year. So, how do you prepare? I haven’t seen any exact steps to follow for Stage 2, so I offer these five tips to help with an effective ramp-up.

Create a review team

You need to involve clinical, financial, and technology stakeholders in MU Stage 2 plans because Stage 2 reporting requirements are more clinical in nature than MU Stage 1. On the technology side, you need someone who’s responsible for the application, plus someone on the reporting side. In fact, I’d say that data gathering and reporting are the most important aspects on the technical side. After all, if everything isn’t entered correctly, the reports won’t be appropriate. 

Learn from what you’ve done

Stage 2 is the same as Stage 1 – but different. Look at what worked well in Stage 1 and learn from any mistakes you might have made. What would you do differently? With Stage 1, you focused on installing workflows to capture data for certain measures. Moving to Stage 2, you need to be sure you’re entering the actual data correctly for those measures. If there was an issue with data entry on a navigator section or an issue with a grouper or measure configuration: review setup and build for data entry, data gathering, and reporting output.

If in Stage 1 a site had issues in one of these areas, now would be a good time to assess how data is being entered for each measure in order to iron out the troubles before they become even larger in Stage 2. It’s important to review the workflows so that data entry is accessible for the clinician, as well as the system build for each measure. Additionally, you’ll want to confirm that data capture pieces are in place and configured correctly. Evaluating which reports are used to monitor progress will help ensure that they are formatted in a way that is easy to read and provides value.

Conduct a gap analysis

Compare Stage 1 work with Stage 2 requirements. Are there areas where you need to catch up? Data measures are changing and you will need to collect additional data; go ahead and set up workflow changes to capture that data now. For example, the threshold for the smoking measure is moving from 50 to 80 percent. Now is the time to put the new threshold in place.

Adjust monitoring reports for these measures so you can see which ones will meet the new requirements and what areas may need to be investigated for any shortcomings. One new core measure is lab orders must be directly entered into CPOE greater than 30 percent. Even though you don’t need the data today, turning this measure on and completing the build now will show your progress for compliance with this measure and will give you time to make any necessary changes before Stage 2 arrives.

Check your software

This is not the time to be retro. Examine the level at which your software is operating and be sure it’s up to date. I’ve noticed that major updates tend to come out about every other year – along with ongoing patches and fixes. Work with your technical team to look at big and small updates, allowing time for any needed upgrades. As obvious as it sounds, make sure you’re getting all the MU updates as soon as they’re available. Don’t wait until 2014 when Stage 2 is being implemented to get the latest versions of your programs. 

Test first

Don’t cram the night before the exam. Your upgrade plan needs to include testing before go-live. I’d say it’s close to impossible to test a report without some type of real data. You may have to scramble it to make it unidentifiable, but you need a realistic data environment for testing something as big as MU Stage 2.

MU Stage 2 is coming whether you’re ready or not. Stay ahead of the game by preparing for the 2014 implementation today.

9-21-2013 6-30-19 PM

Jason Drusak is manager of consulting services at Culbert Healthcare Solutions.

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