Achieving Meaningful Use in 2012: Six Steps

If 2012 is the first year you’ll be demonstrating Meaningful Use and qualifying for EHR Incentives, here are the 6 key steps to getting ready.

Step 1: Register now for the incentives, even if you are not planning to demonstrate Meaningful Use and attest until later in 2012.  CMS offers step-by-step guides to help you with the registration process.


Step 2: Upgrade to your EHR vendor’s certified release.  This tells you that the government (HHS) has approved the software as being capable of supporting all activities required for Meaningful Use.


Step 3:  Meaningfully Use the software.  Meaningful Use is a set of measures, 15 Core (all must be met) and 10 Manu (5 must be met), that you must perform in order to receive Medicare EHR Incentives and to avoid future penalties.

If you are already using a certified EHR system, you may already meet many of the measures.  For example: Core Set Measure 3 states that the Eligible Providers must maintain an up-to-date Problem List of current and active diagnoses.  If you are documenting the patients’ diagnoses using an EHR, you have already achieved this measure.

E-Prescribe – Consistent use of E-Prescribing means that you are on your way to achieving Core Set Measures 1, 2, 4, 14 and Menu Set Measure 1.  Assign tasks to the appropriate staff.  Core Set Measure 7, for example, states that the following data elements must be documented: sex, race, ethnicity, date of birth and preferred language.  Be sure that your staff is collecting and entering the data required by the various measures.


Step 4: Run the Meaningful Use and Quality Measures Reports to check your progress. Your certified EHR system should generate reports on the data you will need to attest.  Run these reports to ensure you are on track to attest at the conclusion of your 90-day period:

  • At the end of every day for the first week of MU
  • At the end of the 2nd week
  • At the end of the 3rd week
  • At the end of the 4th week
  • Every other week thereafter


Step 5: Perform the HIPAA Security Risk Analysis.  One of the Meaningful Use requirements (Core Set Measure 15) is to perform a security risk analysis.  A risk analysis will identify potential threats to and vulnerabilities of information systems and the associated risk.  To begin meeting those requirements, you must conduct a Security Risk Analysis of the certified EHR Technology and of your own processes, and you must correct any deficiencies.

HIPAA Security Rule resource and standards for safeguarding electronic protected health information (e-PHI) on the CMS website. CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE SITE.


Step 6: Attest (report your outcomes to CMS).  Eligible Professionals must report their MU outcomes to CMS.  For Calendar Year (CY) 2012 this will be done through “Attestation”.  CMS is not yet accepting direct feeds from certified EHRs.  The EP identifies which certified EHR they are using and “Attests” to their results by Measure through a secure CMS (Medicare) or State (Medicaid) website.

CMS resources are available to help you navigate through the attestation process:

  • A new attestation page on the CMS EHR website, where participants in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program can find information on attestation.
  • Meaningful Use Attestation Calculator allows EPs to check whether they have met meaningful use guidelines before they attest in the system.  The calculator prints a copy of each EP’s specific measure summary.