States Demonstrate Success in Meaningful Use Acceleration Efforts

Fadesola Adetosoye; Brett Andriesen and Paul Klintworth | December 12, 2012

The numbers are in and meaningful use of Meaningful Use appears to be working. In Ohio, nearly half of the providers in the Cincinnati Beacon Community program have achieved meaningful use. In Maine, 83% of the patient population is electronically sharing health care information with their providers, facilitated by the statewide Health Information Exchange (HIE), HealthInfoNet.

A number of states demonstrate that with innovative strategies and commitment, accelerating Meaningful Use among hospitals and providers is achievable. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) launched its State Meaningful Use Challenge, an effort focused on encouraging states to work with stakeholders and other health IT partners implement electronic health records (EHRs), in a meaningful way, to support the triple aim objectives: better health, better care, and lower costs. Some states have accomplished the acceleration of meaningful use by using it as a lever to improve care management for their patient population. Meaningful Use of EHRs is being used to keep patients out of the hospital, improve the coordination of care among various providers, and support broader efforts for health transformation at the local level.

A trio of states—Maine, Ohio, and Kentucky—have used Meaningful Use as a foundational building block and demonstrated success by delivering better coordinated care, lowering health care costs, and improving patient health.

Leveraging Health IT to Improve Care Management and Coordination

Maine is propelling meaningful use forward by leveraging EHRs and HIE to improve care coordination and quality. The alignment of health care providers and innovative health care IT systems highlight how strategic healthIT investments, Meaningful Use of EHRs, and use of HIE, advance the realization of patient-centered care while achieving the three part aim.

Supported by HealthInfoNet, the Regional Extension Center (REC), and the statewide HIE, clinicians across Maine, including those in the Bangor Beacon Community, share important patient information in order to drive private, secure, and effective care coordination across the community and the state.

Today, roughly 1.1 million individuals have records in the statewide HIE. Eighty-three percent of Maine’s population, 30 of Maine’s 39 hospitals, and more than 300 ambulatory sites are now connected. As of December 1, 2012, the Maine REC—serving 1,000 providers—has helped 892 providers go live on a certified EHR and more than 300 achieve Meaningful Use attestation. In the Bangor Beacon Community, providers continue to collect, share, and analyze information with the focus of improving the health of people with chronic conditions such as diabetes, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and asthma. Preliminary results from the Bangor Beacon show reductions in emergency department visits by 43% over 12 months, non-urgent care visits have been reduced by 75 percent over 12 months, and hospitalizations have decreased 42% over 12 months.

Meaningful Use as an Enabler of Broader Health Transformation Efforts

In Ohio and under the leadership of Governor Kasich’s Office of Health Transformation, Meaningful Use is enabling broad health transformation. Examples of such transformation include the modernization of the state’s Medicaid program as well as diverse performance improvement programs, such as the Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative (CPCi) and Beacon Communities projects. With more than 1,200 providers participating in Ohio’s Regional Extension Center programs also engaged with the CPCi or Beacon Community programs, more than 40% of participating Beacon and CPCi providers have achieved Meaningful Use.

Through the dedication and hard work of organizations receiving ONC funding (Greater Cincinnati Healthbridge/Greater Cincinnati Beacon, Ohio Health Information Partnership, and Cuyahoga Community College), Ohio has successfully paid more than  6,700 eligible providers, and more than half of eligible hospitals for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, for more than $126,131,000 in incentive payments.

Strategic Collaboration and Perseverance

The success of Meaningful Use acceleration efforts in Kentucky is highlighted by the success in Meaningful Use achievements among rural health care providers. To date, providers and hospitals have received $115 million in incentive payments for Meaningful Use, and the ONC-funded REC and HIE  programs interface with nearly 95% of critical access hospitals in Kentucky. Their innovative programs to support rural providers have helped Kentucky become a leader in the number of eligible professionals in rural areas who have received a payment under the Medicare or Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.

Rural providers often face additional barriers to EHR implementation due to the distance between clinics and available technical assistance, limited clinical or professional expertise in implementation requirements, and the availability of broadband to support a health IT infrastructure capable of documenting and exchanging patient information. These barriers led to Kentucky’s Regional Extension Center Program (KYREC)’s implementation of a “CIO-in-a-box” program, directed at providing rural hospitals and health centers with a prescriptive guide for EHR implementation.

Collaboration around Meaningful Use has also helped the state achieve other integrated care efforts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Kentucky Cancer Registry, KYREC and the KY Health Information Exchange (KYHIE) partnered with a dermatologist in Paducah, KY and an EHR vendor to successfully create a continuity of care document—a document that provides a patient summary of relevant administrative, and demographic and clinical facts about a patient—an important component of Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements.

Finding the “Me” in Meaningful Use

Meaningful Use is hard. We get it. It wasn’t meant to be easy, but data doesn’t lie: Meaningful Use is working, and the benefits realized in the short-term are encouraging. Meaningful Use has provided the launching pad necessary to support broader health care transformation efforts at the federal and local levels. Facilitating a mechanism for continuity of care and timeliness of accurate patient data are important elements in supporting improved outcomes and health care for patients and providers.

ONC Wants to Hear From You

We want to hear from you!

  • How are you encouraging providers to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs and how are you communicating the motivational factor(s)?
  • How are you personalizing Meaningful Use, in other words, finding the “me,” in Meaningful Use, in a way that health care professionals and patients see the importance and value of participating in the program?

For More Information – Meaningful Use

CMS Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs