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Enhancing Patient and Family Engagement Through Meaningful Use Stage 3: Opportunities and Barriers to Implementation

Jaclyn Rappaport, MPP, MBA; Sara Galantowicz, MPH; Andrea Hassol, MSPH; Anisha Illa, BS; Sid Thornton, PhD; Shan He, PhD; Jean Adams, RN, ACIO; and Charlie Sawyer, MD, FACP


November 16, 2016
The proposed Patient and Family Engagement objectives for Meaningful Use Stage 3 (MU3) seek to provide patients with increased access to, and control over, the content and dissemination of their electronic health record (EHR) information.

This study was conducted from 2013-2014 where two leading US health systems attempted to implement 4 draft MU3 objectives within their current EHR system. Senior staff provided qualitative feedback on their implementation experience; researchers used content analysis to identify major themes and implementation challenges.

The research team found that the draft objectives would support the MU3 Patient and Family Engagement goals, but that all objectives would benefit from the following: changes in policy language to promote flexibility in implementation; training and workflow adaptions, as well as patient education, by healthcare organizations; and new EHR functionalities.

Results and conclusions:
In the short term, a semi-automated approach is likely necessary to support MU3 objective implementation. These challenges are not unique to MU3 and underscore gaps in the current health information infrastructure. Meeting the technical and operational requirements of Meaningful Use Stage 3 (MU3) patient engagement objectives will be difficult to do in a fully automated fashion.
  • Electronic health platforms still need to evolve to provide a basic level of functionality for providers and patients to access and transmit health information online to meet the standards described in the MU3 proposed objectives.
  • The pilot implementation experience of 2 advanced healthcare systems suggests that a semi-automated approach to information exchange—where some information is reviewed and sent out by a human rather than automatically by a system—may be necessary until functionality evolves.