This week's top headlines: MU Stage 2, provider success stories

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This week’s top stories offered both a look toward the future, with the publishing of the meaningful use Stage 2 final rule, and also a look back at the outcomes of initiatives promoting evidence-based practice in Washington State and dose reduction at the Mayo Clinic.

On Thursday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published the meaningful use Stage 2 final rule, which notably pushed back the meaningful use timeline. Providers who had attested to Stage 1 criteria in 2011 will now begin using Stage 2 criteria in 2014, rather than 2013 as outlined in the Stage 1 final rule.

CMS also finalized two new objectives in the core measures: Use of secure electronic messaging to communicate with patients on relevant health information, and automatic tracking of medications from order to administration using assistive technologies in conjunction with an electronic medication administration record. Two other core objectives—providing patients online access to health information and secure messaging between patient and provider—were proposed, though the threshold for meeting these objectives was dropped from 10 percent of patients to 5 percent in response to providers’ concerns.

As far as imaging-specific measures, the final rule states that EHRs must support display of image results which could be accomplished with a single sign-on link to a PACS.

The full text of the Stage 2 final rule can be found here.

With the all the pressure that comes from complying with meaningful use, it’s good to hear some major initiative success stories, and this week we received two. The first was a study from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., focused on the outcome of a dose reduction safety initiative in the cardiology department. By implementing a combination of practice and technology changes in the cath lab, Mayo was able to cut radiation dose administered to patients from invasive cardiovascular procedures by 40 percent in just three years.

The other success story came from an Academic Radiology study of the Washington State Health Technology Assessment Program, which makes coverage decisions for the state’s public health programs by heavily emphasizing evidence-based practice. The program has saved an estimated $20 million per year since being founded in 2007.

Whether it’s a concern you have about meaningful use or a success story from your organization, Health Imaging wants to hear from you. Let us know what headlines grabbed your attention this week, and as always, have a great weekend.

Evan Godt
Staff Writer