In 2009, the US government passed the “recovery act” (ARRA) that included over $25B of investment in Healthcare IT. In that context, the EHR (Electronic Health Record) Incentive Programs were created.

The EHR Incentive Programs tie incentive payments and penalties for physician and hospitals, to their demonstrated “Meaningful Use” of EHR’s.

“Meaningful Use” (“MU”) is defined in detailed regulations and supporting materials that feature measurable and testable criteria. Under the MU2 rules, EHR products are certified to meet the criteria and physicians and hospitals attest (subject to audit) to their use of such certified products, in the way and to the extent that the regulations mandate.

The first release of the MU rules is now called the “2011 Edition” and it has been superseded by the “2014 Edition”.

The 2014 Edition of MU defines the rules both for a “Stage One” and “Stage Two” of the program – with the criteria in “Stage Two” being more rigorous in terms of the scope of the criteria and, primarily, the measurement thresholds required to meet the criteria.

The EHR Incentive Program rules detail what Stage needs to be met (and when) for various incentive payments and penalty avoidance.

Meaningful Use Stage Two is abbreviated “MU2″.

Additional Information
The US Government’s healthit.gov website, includes official information about Meaningful Use.

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