CMS releases guidance for meeting Patient Electronic Access objective

Meeting the Patient Electronic Access objective is a requirement for all eligible professionals taking part in the EHR incentive programs. If you are currently in stage 1, you are required to give over 50 percent of your patients access to their health information no later than four business days after the information becomes available. In addition to meeting this criteria, eligible professionals in stage 2 must prove that over 5 percent of their patients review or download their health information online or transmit it to a third party.  

Meeting the Patient Electronic Access measure is important for direct access to EHRs that can assist patients in improving their clinical decisions and enhancing efficiencies in health care delivery, according to EHR Intelligence. To aid eligible professionals in meeting these standards, the Center fro Medicare and Medicaid Services has recently released guidance for calculating patient electronic access across multiple providers.

Stage 1 and Stage 2 Measure #1: Providers with Patients who Opt-Out 
Patients can always decide that they do not want access to their health information. However, they must still remain a part of the denominator, even if they have opted out of receiving access. If patients give the information needed to opt back in without any further action required from their provider, they can also be included in the numerator. Providers may require follow up action from patients who opt back in, including a user ID and password, how to create an account and information on the patient website, according to EHR Intelligence. 

Stage 2 Measure #2: Eligible Professionals in the Same Group Practice
If eligible professionals in group practices saw their patient during the same EHR reporting period and use the same EHR technology, they can share credit. The patient must view, download or transmit their health information online to be counted in the numerator by eligible professionals.

Stage 2 Measure #2: Providers with the Same Patient
Multiple eligible providers can count their patient in the numerator to satisfy the criteria if the patient accesses any of the information in an online personal health record. However, this is only permitted if all of these eligible providers see the same patient and contribute information to the online PHR during the same EHR reporting period. Therefore, for an eligible professional to count a patient to meet their threshold, is not required that the patient access the specific information contributed by the provider.