By Mark Kaufmann, MD
Under the EHR Incentive Program, which was begun by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in 2011, dermatologists can collect up to $44,000 in incentives over five years under Medicare, or up to $63,750 over six years under Medicaid.
To be eligible for the funds, dermatologists must use a certified EHR system and become a meaningful user, among other requirements. In order to be considered a meaningful user, you must attest via CMS’s online system that you have met certain criteria. Which criteria depends on what year you started the program — as does your potential incentive payment. Stage 1 involves 15 core measures and 5 menu measures. Fulfilling Stage 2 requires 17 core measures and 3 additional measures. New content on AAD.org offers in depth information on meaningful use, including stage 1 and stage 2 criteria.
The EHR user group community provides an opportunity to share successes and challenges with our colleagues and learn from each other to implement an EHR effectively and become efficient users within our practices.
Much more than meaningful use
The intention of the meaningful use program is to encourage EHR adoption across the health care system. However, attesting to meaningful use is just one aspect of EHR adoption. Implementing a system means thinking about your budgets, training your staff, and readjusting your daily operations.
The Academy’s online HIT-kit at www.aad.org/hitkit has an amazing amount of information to help you make the transition. In addition to information on how to be a meaningful user, you will find information on Medicare’s e-prescribing incentive program as well as information about how to select and implement an appropriate EHR system for your practice.
I am particularly excited about the most recent addition to the HIT-kit, the EHR user group community. This online community provides an opportunity to share successes and challenges with our colleagues and learn from each other to implement an EHR effectively and become efficient users within our practices. Currently groups are available for some commonly-used vendors in dermatology. There is also a group for general user discussion, and new groups will be formed as the market evolves and member needs create demand.
These groups are only open to AAD members and are a great opportunity to engage in conversation with colleagues about how to effectively address a challenge facing us all. I strongly encourage you to visit this new resource. Once of the best ways to learn is by asking someone who has faced the same issues!
Dr. Kaufmann is an associate clinical professor in the Department of Dermatology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. He is also the chair of the AAD EHR Implementation Task Force.