Meaningful use is difficult to understand, even for physicians. Its many measures have left doctors with questions like:
- What regulations apply to my practice?
- What is mandatory and what is optional?
- At my practice, who is responsible for compliance?
- How will meaningful use affect my workflow?
Another important question physicians should be considering is: How does meaningful use affect my patients?
The average patient may not have heard of meaningful use, but the regulations affect office visits, and physicians need to help patients understand the changes and what they mean. A patient may ask why his or her practice is requesting new information or what the summary received at the end of a visit means. If the practice uses ePrescribing, patients may wonder if prescriptions will really be sent to the pharmacy. Patients will also notice if a physician is typing during a visit rather than using a clipboard.
By being prepared, physicians can help patients see the benefits of change, while accomplishing the goals meaningful use aims to achieve.
What Practices Can Do
Focusing on the goals of meaningful use will help physicians convey its benefits to patients. Meaningful use was created to accomplish many things, including:
- Engage patients in their own healthcare
- Give patients more control of their healthcare
- Share data between entities for patient convenience and safety
Physicians should answer patient questions with these benefits in mind. By showing patients what is available to them, physicians can get their patients excited about the direction healthcare is taking.
Stage 2’s patient portal requirements will make it even more vital for physicians to communicate the value of change to patients. Providing information during office visits and offering training sessions that teach patients how to use and benefit from the portal will promote appreciation for how meaningful use can improve the healthcare experience.
For more information on meaningful use, visit our online resource center.