HIPAA Meaningful Use Transition Guide 2020

Sarah Collins

The meaningful use era came to end in summer 2018 with the release of Final Inpatient Prospective Payment Systems Rule from the Center of Medicare and Medicaid. These rules detail what healthcare organizations must do to qualify for incentive payment from Medicare and Medicaid.  One of the biggest changes is the renaming of Medicare and Medicaid's Electronic Health Record Incentive Program, it is now simply called Promoting Interoperability Programs. No longer will you hear the term HIPAA Meaningful Use, but organizations must still show their meaningful use of information technology.

HIPAA Meaningful Use was a disruptor and brought healthcare IT to national visibility. Over 95% of health systems and over 85% of clinical offices have transitions to an EHR. The new rules are rational but most would agree the incentives should be correlated to health outcomes instead of internal process changes. There are still many improvements to be made with EHR systems and protecting the data they collect. 

The meaningful use term was replaced in part by the new Medicare and Medicaid Quality Payment Program (QPP). The Quality Payment Program consolidated all previous federal programs. Advanced Care Information (ACI) is now responsible for 25% of incentive payment and penalties. Advanced Care Information also changed from an all-or-none system to a score-based system. Advanced Care Information's component of Quality Payment Program is now called Promoting Interoperability Program.

The improved Promoting Interoperability Program provides four requirements, each stating the thresholds required to complete. There have also been improvements around the quality reporting thresholds and the time period has been limited to 90 days per year.

The last improvement in the rules states all systems must meet the 2015 Edition Certified EHR Technology (CEHRT).  2015 Edition Certified EHR Technology requires systems to offer an Application Programming Interface (API) to transmit data to and from the EHR automatically. Vendors have been using the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standard to provide their API. One of the most well-known apps to provide this feature is Apple's Health app. Users can download their entire health data set with a tap of the finger.

It seems like only yesterday the Health Information Technology for Clinical and Economic Health Act was passed into law. The law has done more than just put modern devices into our healthcare facilities, it has provided our system with organized data to analyze and improve our health collectively.