Stage 2 Meaningful Use Guidelines: Three Bold Steps

The proposed Stage 2 Meaningful Use guidelines released in February by the government represents the logical progression in the push to a more integrated and accessible healthcare data system.  Building off the rules laid out in Stage 1, Stage 2 aims to push the bar even higher for all healthcare providers.  Specifically, the Stage 2 guidelines lay out the following three bold requirements that will no doubt have a transformative effect on the healthcare system in the United States:

  1. The standardization of data formats in order to facilitate both the collection and exchange of information across various healthcare networks.  This new requirement will open up healthcare networks and allow patients far greater flexibility in choosing their healthcare provider.
  2. The mandate that patients be able to easily access their healthcare records for their own use. Based on this regulation, more power will be placed into the hands of the patient and will more than likely contribute to the development of new models of care delivery.
  3. Increased scope of quality tracking metrics. The new proposal now includes specialists in addition to primary care physicians and also considers care coordination in addition to outcomes in determining quality.

Clearly, these three new proposals featured in the Stage 2 Meaningful Use guidelines are set to transform the healthcare system of the United States over the coming years.  The healthcare system is changing before our eyes and these mandates will be required to be followed by the third quarter 2014.  From increased patient autonomy and flexibility in provider choice to new metrics for gauging quality care, the proposals featured in the new guidelines are without a doubt transformative in nature and as such healthcare providers will have no choice but to adapt.

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