Epic MU Stage 2 Objectives: Understanding Patient Portals

Epic MU Stage 2 Objectives

With the move from Meaningful Use Stage 1 to Stage 2 comes a shift in focus from provider EHR adoption to higher patient engagement. MU Stage 2 goes beyond collecting data, requiring that eligible professionals and hospitals make patient data quickly available to patients online. Furthermore, organizations are also required to ensure that a percentage of patients are actually accessing and viewing this data. While many measures can be successfully met without the use of a patient portal, there are two objectives that require its use. We will explore both of these core objectives.

Two Core Objectives Required Use for Patient Portals

Objective 1: Provide patients the ability to view online, download and transmit their health information.

This objective contains two separate measures:

  1. More than 50% of all patients who are discharged/seen during the reporting period are provided online access to their health information within 36 hours after discharge (for Eligible Hospitals), or within 4 business days after the information is available to the EP (for Eligible Professionals).
  2. More than 5% of all patients who are discharged/seen during the reporting period view, download, or transmit to a third party their health information.

Several things have changed from Stage 1 to Stage 2 for this objective. First, the threshold for providing timely online access to patients who are discharged or seen increased from 10% to 50%. Second, a measure has been added to this objective requiring that 5% of all patients discharged or seen must actively view, download or transmit their health information. Eligible Professionals or Hospitals must meet both measures to satisfy the objective. This core objective effectively replaces the “Electronic Copy of Health Information” core objective from Stage 1.

Both measures of this objective require that providers and patients become actively engaged with Epic’s MyChart patient portal. To satisfy the “timely online access” portion of the requirement, Epic recommends configuring the automatic release of chart information to MyChart. This chart information should include lab results and any changes to allergies, medications, and the problem list. By automatically releasing this information, you ensure that you meet the “timely access” requirement to provide the patient online access to their chart updates.

While it is critical to make sure that patient health information makes its way promptly to the portal, this step is only half the battle. The second measure of this objective mandates that 5% of patients actually use the portal to view, download, or transmit their health information. Your organization should encourage patients to log in to MyChart to view their updated chart information, including test results and flowsheets. Patients can also view summaries of specific encounters or admissions and download the relevant Continuity of Care Document (CCD). Furthermore, they can transmit the appropriate CCD to a third-party provider.

Objective 2: Use secure electronic messaging to communicate with patients on relevant health information.

This objective contains one measure and only applies to Eligible Professionals (EP’s):

  1. A secure message was sent using the electronic messaging function of certified EHR technology by more than 5% of unique patients seen by the EP during the EHR reporting period.

This Stage 2 core objective is new to Meaningful Use and only applies to Eligible Professionals. Similar to the previous objective covered above this objective requires the use of MyChart functionality. Encourage your patients to use MyChart to securely communicate with their providers.

3 Methods in MyChart to satisfy the measure:

  1. MyChart Messages: MyChart Messages allow a patient to reach out to their provider to get medical advice or request prescription refills. This feature can also be installed on iPhone or Android smartphones, so consider educating your patients about how easy it can be to get in touch with their provider using this method.
  2. Questionnaires: Questionnaires can be sent by providers and then responded to by patients through MyChart. Questionnaires can be utilized for many purposes, such as recording medical information related to upcoming encounters or keeping allergies and medications lists up-to-date.
  3. E-visits: Patients can use MyChart to schedule e-visits, which allow communication for acute or non-urgent problems. The e-visit feature lets patients upload images and videos in response to provider questions.

Both objectives require the full implementation of MyChart, as well as specific configuration instructions that will allow you to meet each individual measure. Furthermore, some tasks, such as transmitting a Continuity of Care Document, require the implementation of Care Everywhere, Epic’s solution to exchanging patient health information between different organizations.