MU2 #8 – Patient Reminders

 In Articles, Meaningful Use

This is Part 8 in a series provided by Jeanne Chamberlin, Director of EMR Consulting, at MSOC Health. Visit our blog site to see articles 1 -7. 

The MU Measure for Patient Reminders moves to a Core (required) Measure in Stage 2 and also has some significant changes, as shown below.

MU2 #8 Chart

Pay particular attention to these clarifications:

  • A provider is excluded from this measure if s/he had no patients with 2+ office visits during the two-year period prior to the start of their reporting period.
  • For specialists, the denominator may be smaller than you think. How many of the patients seen in the office from January-March (for example) had 2 office visits BEFORE January. You only need to send a reminder to 10% of these patients.
  • Patients are to be sent the reminder according to their stated communication preference (phone, email, secure message, etc.) IF KNOWN by the provider. You are not required to collect communication preference information, but you are required to honor a reasonable request from a patient for a specific medium.
  • The provider should use clinically relevant information stored in the EHR to determine which patients will receive the reminder.
  • The reminder may not be for a service that has already been scheduled such as an appointment reminder; it may be a reminder to engage in certain activities or to schedule an appointment.

This is a great example of a MU measure that you can view as intrusive and difficult, or you can embrace the concept and make it work for you. Are there services that patients with a certain condition you treat should receive (for example, a breast cancer patient who should have a mammogram every year or a diabetic who should have an eye exam)? The best choices are those that will bring the patient in for an appointment and generate revenue for your practice, however don’t discount the value of building patient loyalty and maintaining your relationship so that they choose your practice over competitors in the future. Here are some suggestions to consider:

  • Send a secure message through your patient portal with pre-operative or post-operative instructions discussed during the office visit or surgery.
  • If you call patients the day after a procedure to check on them, include a “reminder” of instructions or to call the office if they experience any unusual effects.
  • Send a letter to all your patients who smoke encouraging them to quit and providing a list of Stop Smoking resources in your community.
  • Email all your elderly patients with information about the importance of receiving a flu shot and options such as drug stores, primary care physician offices and health departments.

Once you’ve decided on the population and message, look into how you can utilize your patient portal to deliver the message to save on staff and/or postage costs. Be sure, also, to understand how you will record that the reminder was sent in your EHR so that your MU reports reflect your efforts. Visit the CMS Specification Sheet for each Stage 2 Measure. Need help unraveling the complexities of Meaningful Use? MSOC Health can help! Contact Jeanne Chamberlin, Director of EMR Consulting at 919-442-2422 or j.chamberlin@msochealth.com.

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