Meaningful Use Criteria & Objectives

Criteria and objectives that have to be met for Meaningful Use

To qualify, hospitals and eligible professionals will need to demonstrate Meaningful Use when it comes to their electronic health records. By doing this, they can qualify for an incentive payment from the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

If the hospital or clinician is eligible for the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program, they do not need to demonstrate Meaningful Use during their first year, but they do have to implement, upgrade to, or adopt an EHR if they are going to qualify for an incentive payment from their state. That gives them time to work up to Meaningful Use, and helps to provide them with the resource and incentives they need in order to get started.

Certified EHR technology must be adopted by hospitals and clinicians that want to meet Meaningful Use criteria. Additionally, that EHR technology has to be used in a specific way that achieves certain objectives. By becoming meaningful users of EHR technology as defined by the Meaningful Use guidelines, a hospital or clinician can qualify for incentive payments.

Meaningful Use Criteria Met Over Time

Meaningful Use criteria are not required all at once, as they will evolve over a period of five years, and in three distinct stages.

Stage I occurred in 2011-2012, Stage II in 2014, and Stage III in 2016. Criteria and objectives must be met at each stage, to allow the hospital or provider to move forward to the next stage.

The Meaningful Use criteria for eligible professionals requires meeting:

  • 15 of the program's core objectives
  • 5 out of the 10 menu set objectives
  • 6 total clinical quality measures
    • 3 from the core or alternate core
    • 3 out of an additional set of 3

Meaningful Use for Hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals

For hospitals and CAHs, the eligibility requirements are a bit different. They are required to meet:

  • 14 core program objectives
  • 5 out of 10 from the menu set
  • 15 clinical quality measures

Both groups must report on the clinical quality measures in order to show that they are successfully meeting Meaningful Use so they can receive their incentive payment. CMS provides specific quality measures that are a part of the program to help ensure that hospitals and providers have every opportunity to discover what they need to do and get it done so they can receive the proper incentives.

Patients and medical professionals both benefit when hospitals and providers meet Meaningful Use criteria and objectives, as it improves the healthcare experience for everyone. Over time, the goal is to continue to improve the safety, efficiency, and overall quality of healthcare.


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