Important Update On Meaningful Use

September 8, 2014 by Todd Christman

Health care systems and private clinics are in the midst of Stage 2 Meaningful Use implementation of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Incentive Programs.  As hospitals and private clinics navigate these requirements, many questions arise around the athletic trainer and their role in the ever-changing landscape of health care.  As an athletic trainer, you should be prepared to talk to your current or potential employer about this issue. NATA has developed resources (detailed below) to help educate and support you in these conversations.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 authorizes CMS to provide incentive payments to eligible professionals (EPs) and hospitals who adopt, implement, upgrade, or demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health record (EHR) technology” (CMS EHR Incentives Certification ).  As reimbursement rates decline, hospitals and EPs are eager to adhere to the standards to ensure they receive the incentivized payments.

Meaningful use is simply using electronic health record (EHR) to:

  • Improve quality, safety, efficiency, and reduce health disparities
  • Engage patients and family
  • Improve care coordination, and population and public health
  • Maintain privacy and security of patient health information

The hoped for outcome of meaningful use requirements is better clinical and patient outcomes, increased transparency, improved efficiency and more robust research data (CMS Meaningful Use Definition).

One of the measures of obtaining meaningful use is the use of computerized physician order entry (CPOE) for medication orders. The core objective of CPOE as described by CMS is:

“Use [of] computerized provider order entry (CPOE) for medication, laboratory and radiology orders directly entered by any licensed healthcare professional who can enter orders into the medical record per state, local and professional guidelines.”

CMS further explains who is eligible to fulfil these orders in CMS FAQ10134:

 “The order must be entered by someone who could exercise clinical judgment in the case that the entry generates any alerts about possible interactions or other clinical decision support aides. This necessitates that the CPOE occurs when the order first becomes part of the patient’s medical record and before any action can be taken on the order.”

So what does this mean for athletic trainers? NATA has received a number of inquiries regarding ATs ability to fulfill the meaningful use requirements described above. It is the position of NATA that ATs meet this standard.  CMS specifically identifies medical assistants as able to enter orders; entry-level ATs have more education and training.  As physicians are “eligible providers” under CMS rules, they are able to make the decision of who may enter orders on their behalf.
If you would like more information on meaningful use, please see NATA’s Meaningful Use Official Statement and Meaningful Use Advisory Notice

Posted by Todd Christman