Implementing Meaningful Use Paper

Implementing Meaningful Use Paper

Implementing Meaningful Use Paper

The U.S. health care system is highly developed, albeit requiring more changes as time advances. One of the main contributions to success is active government involvement in supporting health care development. Through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), meaningful use was introduced to ensure more use of health care technology in health practice. The primary objective of meaningful use was to promote electronic health records (EHRs) through incentives (Davis, 2019). Since its inception, many developments have occurred, but health care providers face various challenges to implementing all its provisions as envisioned. The purpose of this paper is to describe the stages of meaningful use and the measures and challenges experienced in implementing each stage.

Stages of Meaningful Use

Over time, technology use in health care has intensified as health care providers seek to serve more patients better, efficiently, and cost-effectively. Adopting EHRs’ usage was a critical step towards achieving this goal to ensure that a broader populace can benefit from the wide range of health care processes. EHRs enable quick access and sharing of patient information, leading to quicker and more informed decisions (Keshta&Odeh, 2021). It also promotes interprofessional collaboration and patient engagement in health care delivery. To promote meaningful use of EHRs, three stages with specific measures were formulated to facilitate seamless implementation of the set objectives.

Stage 1: Data Capture and Sharing

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Each day, health care professionals collect volumes of patient data. They can optimize the use of such data depending on how they store and use it. Stage 1 of meaningful use involves data capture and sharing. Its primary focus is health care providers adopting EHRs and storing patient data electronically (Oldenburg et al., 2021). Electronic data storage facilitates quick retrieval, and health care providers receive incentives after meeting several measures.

Meaningful use stage 1 measures were categorized into three distinct groups: core, menu, and clinical quality measures. As Davis (2019) explained, core objectives outlined the measures that health care organizations had to meet to qualify for incentives. In this case, health care providers had to demonstrate their capacity to adopt and use EHRs for selected tasks. One of such requirements was to order medications through computerized provider order entry (CPOE) for at least 30% of the patients. Health care providers were also required to shift from hand-written prescriptions to electronic prescriptions for at least 40% of the processes. Other requirements included recording vital signs and maintaining an active problem list in EHRs.


Measures under menu set objectives focused on leveraging EHRs to exchange data. Some of the critical measures include incorporating clinical laboratory tests results into patients’ records, generating a list of patients with specific health conditions in specific populations, and sending reminders to patients to visit health care settings for follow-up care or preventive health services (Davis, 2019). The last set obliged health care providers to provide clinical quality measures, including the proportion of patients with unique conditions such as hypertension, the percentage of adult patients using tobacco or obtaining their flu shot. Other measures included the percentage of women screened for cancer and pregnant patients screened for HIV.

Stage 2: Advanced Clinical Processes

Advanced clinical processes are achieved in health practice by setting and working on higher performance targets. In response, meaningful use stage 2 introduced new objectives and measures. Besides, it introduced higher thresholds for health care providers requiring them to extend EHR capacities to serve a broader population segment. One of the most impacting measures is patient-provider communication. It is highly recommended in health care delivery to ensure that patients are more involved in health care processes and adhere to the recommended treatment plans (Walsh et al., 2018). Health care providers meet this measure by enhancing their capabilities to use secure electronic messaging to communicate with patients as they provide relevant health information. To advance clinical processes, stage 2 replaced stage 1 requirement to provide electronic copies of health information with access to information. Under stage 2, health care providers must ensure that EHRs allow patients to view crucial health information online, download it, and transmit it to eligible providers.

Stage 3: Improved Outcomes

Technology use in health care delivery is usually complicated and challenging. Health care facilities can have proper technology structures but fail to use them appropriately. The same case applies to EHRs in health care delivery. As a result, meaningful use stage 3 seeks to simplify the program, ensure that EHRs are interoperable, and improve patient outcomes. Interoperable EHRs allow easy data exchange, allowing health care providers to receive information quickly to guide decision-making (Li et al., 2021). Such efficiency improves patient satisfaction and prevents issues related to delays in health care delivery.

Meaningful use stage 3 outlined various measures to facilitate health information exchange and better patient outcomes. Among many measures, protecting patient health information has far-reaching impacts on health care delivery. It obliges health care providers to develop strict requirements and safeguards to keep patient data safe and secure (Daim et al., 2019). Practices to achieve this goal include encryption of patient health data and risk management processes. For better outcomes, health care providers must continue shifting from paper-based to electronic systems. Stage 3 increased the threshold of electronic prescribing, requiring health care providers to ensure that more than 80% of prescriptions are electronic. Electronic prescription is critical to prevent medication errors and drug abuse behaviors. Preventing such errors reduces health care costs, allowing health care organizations to meet their financial goals (Penner, 2017). Health care providers should also ensure that over 25% of hospital discharge medication orders are electronic.


Meaningful use seeks to achieve common goals despite the objectives and measures changing from one stage to another. Patient and family engagement and patient safety dominate the objectives; achieved through information sharing, access, and communication. Besides, EHRs’ use improves care coordination and efficient use of resources, as seen in stage 2 and stage 3. The desire for better clinical processes improves care effectiveness and overall population and public health.

Challenges and Barriers in Implementing Meaningful Use

Despite the intention to improve health care delivery through meaningful use, actualizing it has been challenging. The most common barrier in implementing stage 1 is financial challenges. According to Dutta and Hwang (2020), many health care providers lack the financial capacity to adopt and use EHRs to improve patient care. As a result, the shift from paper-based to electronic data storage, sharing, and access has been slower than expected. Adopting EHRs and effective use also requires knowledge, usually acquired through training health care professionals. Inadequate financial resources further impede providers’ capacity to impart knowledge to use EHR systems to enhance patient outcomes.

The leading barriers in implementing stage 2 of meaningful use include resistance to change and workflow problems. To advance any health care process, health care providers should be highly motivated and adapt to change as expected. However, increased use of EHRs and related technologies change clinical workflow and increase health care providers’ workload and responsibilities. As a result, some providers lose motivation over time as the workload and expectations increase. Walsh et al. (2018) found that high dependence on EHRs reduces provider-patient interaction. This is because health care professionals must maintain eye contact with the monitors to feed and observe data, reducing their eye contact with the patient. Such disorientation demotivates them to adopt EHRs and intensifies their efforts to achieve higher targets.

The most common challenge in stage 3 is usability, technical, and security problems. To actualize stage 3 objectives, health care providers must ensure that EHRs are interoperable to facilitate information exchange. However, issues like software being not intuitive and technical hitches hamper data exchange. Security threats stem from unauthorized access to patient data and patients’ inability to secure their data after accessing it (Keshta&Odeh, 2021). Such threats impede effective and efficient use and expose patient data to malicious use. As a result, intensive training of health care providers is crucial to ensure that they understand interoperability essentials to promote usability.


EHRs are an integral part of today’s health care delivery, playing a vital role in care coordination, engaging patients in care, and improving health care efficiency and effectiveness. Meaningful use’s primary goal is to ensure that health care providers adopt and support EHRs to enhance patient outcomes. Like many processes in health care delivery, meaningful use is achieved in three stages: data capture and sharing, advanced clinical processes, and improved outcomes. Each stage has specific objectives and measures, and there are many challenges that should be addressed to achieve the targeted outcomes.


Daim, T. U., Dabić, M. B., JRN, L., &Galli, B. J. (2019). R&D management in the knowledge era.Springer International Publishing.

Davis, N. A. (2019). Foundations of health information management-e-book.Elsevier Health Sciences.

Dutta, B., & Hwang, H. G. (2020). The adoption of electronic medical record by physicians: A PRISMA-compliant systematic review. Medicine99(8): e19290.

Keshta, I., &Odeh, A. (2021). Security and privacy of electronic health records: Concerns and challenges. Egyptian Informatics Journal22(2), 177-183.

Li, E., Clarke, J., Neves, A. L., Ashrafian, H., &Darzi, A. (2021). Electronic health records, interoperability and patient safety in health systems of high-income countries: A systematic review protocol. BMJ Open11(7), e044941.

Oldenburg, J., Chase, D., Christensen, K. T., &Tritle, B. (Eds.). (2020). Engage!: Transforming healthcare through digital patient engagement. CRC Press.

Penner, S. J. (2017).Economics and financial management for nurses and nurse leaders (3rd ed.).Springer Publishing.

Walsh, K. E., Secor, J. L., Matsumura, J. S., Schwarze, M. L., Potter, B. E., Newcomer, P., … & Bartels, C. M. (2018). Promoting secure provider-to-provider communication with electronic health record messaging: an educational outreach study. Journal for Healthcare Quality: Official Publication of the National Association for Healthcare Quality40(5), 283-291.


Assessment Description
Write a 1,200-1,500-word essay describing the electronic health records incentive programs, also known as meaningful use. It offers financial incentives and was designed to improve quality, safety, and efficiency of care through the use of electronic health records.

Describe the three stages of meaningful use and their measures.
Explain the challenges and barriers faced by facilities in implementing each stage of meaningful use.
Include three to five references, including your textbook.

Textbook for reference: Penner, S. J. (2017). Economics and financial management for nurses and nurse leaders (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Springer Publishing. ISBN-13: 9780826160010

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