Promoting Interoperability Criteria & Objectives

Criteria and objectives that have to be met for Promoting Interoperability

Under the original Meaningful Use program, hospitals and eligible professionals needed to demonstrate Meaningful Use of an electronic health record (EHR). By doing this, they were able to qualify for an incentive payment from the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Since the that time, the program has evolved toward the objective of promoting interoperability among EHRs to facilitate health information exchange, hence the new name of Promoting Interoperability, which was adopted by CMS in the spring of 2018. 

Meaningful Use Criteria in the Beginning

If the hospital or clinician was eligible for the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program, they did not need to demonstrate Meaningful Use during their first year, but they did have to implement, upgrade to, or adopt an EHR if they were going to qualify for an incentive payment from their state. This approach gave providers time to work up to the full intent of the Meaningful Use program, and helped to provide them with the resource and incentives they needed in order to get started.

Meaningful Use criteria were not required all at once, they evolved over a period of five years in three distinct stages.

Stage I occurred in 2011-2012, Stage II in 2014, and Stage III in 2016. Criteria and objectives were required at each stage which allowed the hospital or provider to move forward to the next stage.

The Meaningful Use criteria for eligible professionals required 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

For hospitals and CAHs, the eligibility requirements were a bit different, including:

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

Both groups were required to report on the clinical quality measures in order to show that they successfully met Meaningful Use so they could receive their incentive payment. Today, the MU program has evolved toward one of promoting interoperability among EHRs and healthcare providers. It is a key component of the Quality Payment Program for MIPS and for other advanced APMs. Learn more in our MIPS FAQs.

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