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Issue Brief Addresses Stage 2 Meaningful Use Patient Education and Engagement Initiatives

RALEIGH, N.C., Dec. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Now that The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have issued their final mandates for achieving Stage 2 meaningful use requirements, hospitals are working quickly to make the short-term adjustments and longer-term changes needed to satisfy the new rules. Acknowledging the challenges hospitals face, CMS has delayed the onset of Stage 2 criteria for eligible hospitals to fiscal year 2014, but many hospitals already have implemented—or are taking steps for achieving—several of the new initiatives to improve patient engagement.

Beyond improved clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction, the incentive currently driving meaningful use is the government subsidies for implementing the technology and compliance changes. Although compliance is currently primed through financial incentives, non-compliance in the future will result in withheld reimbursements for hospitals, healthcare organizations, and physicians who do not achieve meaningful use standards within the required timeframe.

The second in a series of three issue briefs from TeleHealth Services examines how improved patient education, engagement, and interactivity tools are helping to increase compliance and understanding, enhancing care coordination, measuring service responsiveness, and improving clinical outcomes such as reduced readmissions, better post-discharge planning, and improved patient-satisfaction ratings.

The Stage 2 criteria emphasize health information exchange between providers to improve care coordination for patients. Although clinical quality measure (CQM) reporting has been removed as a core objective for eligible hospitals, all providers are required to report on CQMs in order to demonstrate meaningful use. Beginning in 2014, hospitals must report on 16 out of 29 total CQMs, selecting CQMs from at least three of the six key health care policy domains recommended by the Department of Health and Human Services' National Quality Strategy. These domains include: Patient and Family Engagement; Patient Safety; Care Coordination; Population and Public Health; Efficient Use of Healthcare Resources; and Clinical Processes/Effectiveness.

This second meaningful use brief also examines the work being done in patient education and engagement at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). According to Barbara Brunner, RN, director of Patient and Family Centered Care for the UAMS hospital, their efforts already are helping achieve improved compliance and clinical outcomes. "We have integrated healthcare teams taking care of our patients that encompass all aspects of care, including emergency, inpatient, medication, and discharge," Brunner says. Staff practice a "teach back" method to ensure patient understanding of directions and information pertaining to their health and care, particularly involving post-discharge requirements. "Our goal isn't only to determine what a patient knows, but equally important, what will that patient do when he or she goes home," says Brunner.

"Solving these critical patient-care and cost issues—as well as the new challenges being addressed through healthcare reform—requires a comprehensive, efficient, and collaborative effort between medical providers, hospitals, technology service companies, and state and federal government," states TeleHealth President and CEO, George Fleming. "There is much to accomplish, and much that has already been achieved. We want to embrace best practices, introduce new and smarter tools, and discuss far-reaching, patient-focused solutions with all relevant parties."

This article is written by Jodi DeMarco, the interactive solutions advisor for TeleHealth Services. She has spent more than a decade in the hospital/patient setting serving as project manager for patient education at the Cleveland Clinic, and has taught at several universities.

This second of three TeleHealth meaningful use briefs is available for free download at The first brief, which was posted in October 2012, is still available at

About TeleHealth Services
With more than 2,500 healthcare clients across the country, TeleHealth Services is the nation's leading provider of integrated technology and communications solutions for the healthcare market. Combining 50+ years of healthcare expertise and partnerships with industry leading manufacturers, TeleHealth Services is uniquely positioned to offer a full suite of hospital technology solutions that includes:

Headquartered in Raleigh, N.C., TeleHealth Services is a division of Telerent Leasing Corporation. Telerent, founded in 1957, operates as a subsidiary of ITOCHU International, Inc. For more information on TeleHealth, call 800-733-8610, or visit at

TeleHealth Contact
Matt Barker
Vice President of Marketing
TeleHealth Services

SOURCE TeleHealth Services
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