CMS & Patient Portal: Promoting Interoperability for Patient Engagement
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Role of CMS in Healthcare
CMS is responsible for administering various healthcare programs in the United States. It includes;
- Medicare, which provides health insurance to people over 65 and those with specific disabilities, and
- Medicaid, which provides coverage to low-income individuals and families
CMS also plays a key role in regulating and overseeing healthcare providers, ensuring they meet certain quality standards and comply with federal laws and regulations. Additionally, CMS is involved in initiatives to improve healthcare delivery and reduce costs, such as promoting value-based care models and encouraging electronic health records.
CMS and Patient Portal
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has encouraged the use of patient portals as a way to improve communication and engagement between patients and their healthcare providers.
CMS has included the use of patient portals as part of the "Meaningful Use" program, which provides financial incentives to providers who demonstrate that they are using EHRs in ways that improve patient care. To meet the requirements of the Meaningful Use program, providers must offer patients access to their health information through a secure patient portal.
- In addition to the Meaningful Use program, CMS has also supported the use of patient portals through initiatives like the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA)
- This encourages the use of technology to improve healthcare quality and patient outcomes
- By promoting the use of patient portals, CMS aims to empower patients to take a more active role in their own healthcare and improve communication and coordination between patients and their providers
What is Patient Portal?
A patient portal is a secure online platform that allows patients to access their personal health information, communicate with their healthcare providers, and manage their healthcare needs.
Patient Portals Features
- Viewing medical records: Patients can view their test results, medication lists, immunization records, and other health information.
- Appointment scheduling: Patients can schedule appointments, request prescription refills, and send messages to their healthcare providers.
- Secure messaging: Patients can communicate with their healthcare providers, ask questions, and receive answers in a secure, confidential way.
- Health education: Patients can access educational resources and information about their health conditions and treatment options.
Patient portals are offered by healthcare providers, hospitals, and health systems as a way to improve communication and engagement between patients and their providers. They are designed to be user-friendly and accessible, and many are available through mobile apps for convenient access on the go. Patient portals are also an important tool for patient empowerment, as they allow patients to take an active role in managing their own health and wellness.
What are the Specialties Most Benefited from Patient Portal?
1. Primary care practices
Examples of Primary Care Practices
- Family medicine clinics,
- General internal medicine practices
- Pediatric practices
- Obstetrics and gynecology practices
2. Chronic disease management
Examples of Chronic disease management
- Diabetes management
- Asthma management
- Cardiovascular disease management
- Chronic pain management
- Cancer management
- Chronic kidney disease management
- Mental health management
3. Behavioral Health
Examples of Behavioral Health
- Mental health
- Eating disorders
- Sleep disorders
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Examples of Pediatrics
- Well-child care
- Acute illness care
- Chronic illness management
- Behavioral and Developmental care
- Adolescent medicine
- Pediatric surgery
Examples of Oncology
- Radiation therapy
- Palliative care
- Genetic counseling
- Clinical trials
What is Promoting Interoperability?
- Promoting Interoperability (PI) is a program that was previously known as the Meaningful Use program under the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in the United States
- The program incentivizes eligible healthcare providers to adopt and use electronic health records (EHRs) in a meaningful way
- This is to improve patient care and safety, while also promoting health information exchange between healthcare providers
- Its focus - is on the use of certified EHR technology to promote interoperability, patient engagement, and health information exchange.
- It aims to enhance the quality of patient care, reduce medical errors, and improve patient safety
- It is done by ensuring that healthcare providers have access to accurate and timely patient health information.
To participate in the program, healthcare providers must meet certain requirements related to the use of EHR technology and the reporting of specific measures related to quality and interoperability. Incentives are available for eligible healthcare providers who meet these requirements, while penalties may be imposed on those who do not comply.
How did Patient Portal’s Adoption grow with Promoting Interoperability Program?
The patient portal’s adoption has grown significantly with the promotion of the Interoperability program.
- The Interoperability program incentivized providers to adopt and use certified EHR technology that could support the implementation of patient portals
- By promoting the adoption and use of EHR technology, the Interoperability program facilitated the development of patient portals
- This made it easier for patients to access their health information and communicate with their healthcare providers
- In addition, the Interoperability program established standards for the exchange of health information between providers and patients
- This made it easier for patients to share them with their providers and for providers to share them with each other
- This increased the use of patient portals and encouraged their adoption by healthcare providers
Promoting Interoperability Requirements
The requirements for the program are updated annually. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has provided some general guidance on the program requirements for future years.
Starting in 2022, the program will be renamed the “Promoting Interoperability Program” and will focus on three key areas:
1. Promoting patient access to health information
Providers will be required to use EHR technology to provide patients with electronic access to their health information, such as test results, medication lists, and care summaries.
2. Promoting coordination of care
Providers will be required to use EHR technology to exchange health information with other providers and organizations, such as hospitals and public health agencies, to improve the coordination of care.
3. Promoting public health
Providers will be required to use EHR technology to report certain data to public health agencies for public health purposes, such as disease surveillance and monitoring.
What are the Benefits of CMS Promoting Interoperability & Patient Portals, combined?
1. Improved Patient Engagement
- The PI program and patient portal allow patients to access their health information online, this improves patient engagement
- Patients can view their medical records, lab results, and other health information, and communicate with their healthcare provider electronically
- This can lead to better patient satisfaction, improved health outcomes, and more efficient care
2. Increased Efficiency
- The PI program & patient portal increase efficiency in healthcare delivery by reducing administrative tasks like appointment scheduling, prescription refills, and insurance information
- This can free up time for healthcare providers to focus on patient care and can lead to more efficient workflow.
3. Enhanced Communication
- Both of them enable healthcare providers to communicate with their patients electronically
- This helps to improve communication and reduce the need for phone calls and in-person visits
- Patients can ask questions, request information, and receive updates on their care through the portal
4. Improved Patient Safety
- They improve patient safety by reducing the risk of errors related to medication management and communication
- Patients can access their medication list, allergies, and other important health information online
- This helps prevent adverse drug events and other medication-related errors
- The PI program offers financial incentives for eligible healthcare providers who meet certain requirements related to the use of electronic health records (EHRs) and the reporting of specific measures related to quality and interoperability
- This can help offset the costs of implementing a patient portal and other EHR technologies
Vozo Patient Portal
Vozo patient portal software has incredibly empowered patients with advanced & simplified portal features. This includes secure one-to-one messaging and easy appointment scheduling. Also provides easy access to lab reports and record consultations. Requesting and refilling e-prescriptions are way too simple now.
- Integration or implementation issues?
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- Switching or upgrading to the Vozo patient portal?
- Finding troubles with usage or functions?
- Facing an issue with getting patients to opt-in?
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- Our software can be easily implemented & integrated with any EHR system. It improves practice workflow and productivity.
- Our team of professionals is readily available 24/7 to get things done for you no matter what’s your practice size.
- Vozo patient portal fits your budget perfectly with monthly subscription plans.
- Switching to our portal is a very simple process, you won’t need any help, yet our team has your back.
- We provide various step-by-step tutorials and help to get you on track with the portal.
- Our portal is simple to use and understandable to all. Once they get to try this then there will be no turning back.
- Our portal has strong privacy and security safeguards in place.
“Let’s empower your patients with the best cost-effective patient portal, together”