By Brian Bamberger, Life Sciences Practice Lead
The federal government recently released the long-awaited draft rule for meaningful use stage 3 (MU3). When finalized, this regulation will dictate how the final stage of the incentive program for electronic health records (EHRs) will work beginning for the nations providers in 2018. It will definitely create opportunities for pharmaceutical manufacturers.
In short, MU3 expands some previous measures, such as electronic prescribing (ePrescribing) and use of computerized provider order entry (CPOE). Moreover, it significantly expands patient engagement and reporting requirements for public health entities and disease registries. Not surprisingly, there is new emphasis on required use of application program interfaces (APIs). The government hopes this will spur entrepreneurial developers to greatly expand interoperability across EHRs as well as facilitate patient engagement and public health reporting.
At the same time, the mindset of ambulatory providers toward EHRs changes when they buy new systems. Many, in fact, are ready for new EHRs due to system obsolescence or mergers and acquisitions. The latter is an important trend created by ambulatory practice purchases by hospitals and the movement toward accountable care organizations.
What providers are looking for now are ease of use and better work flow integration. These needs, taken together with MU3 requirements, have far-reaching implications across the medication landscape. For example:
Electronic prescribing. While ePrescribing has been on the rise, MU3 seeks to raise the bar to more than 80% of eligible prescriptions being sent electronically beginning in 2018. Pharmaceutical companies can help educate prescribers by making their product promotional content reflect ePrescribing norms to make nontablet products easier to prescribe. Such issues with key pieces of patient medication and prescribing data have been barriers to use among many ambulatory providers.
CPOE. MU3 similarly requires that 80% of medication orders be recorded using CPOE for hospitalized patients and those presenting in hospital emergency departments. Again, pharmaceutical companies need to work with hospital leadership to secure formulary positions in hospitals and pull those positions through to orders with updated EHR order sets. This will help to improve the quality and safety of patient care, which is something everyone can get behind, and will, in turn, spur CPOE adoption.
Patient engagement. MU3 significantly expands requirements for ways providers engage their patients (for a deeper dive, read the article in this issue ofBiopharma Insights). Of interest to pharmaceutical companies is Measure 2 of Objective 5. It builds upon MU2 measures by requiring eligible providers to make available patient-specific access to educational resources based on ‘clinically relevant’ information in the EHR for 35% of patients. This is an easy way to engage patients and provide value, especially from the patient’s point of view. What is missing is content, which is where pharmaceutical companies come in. Manufacturers have a wealth of patient resource information that have already been developed and represent sunk costs. Opportunity lies in working with EHR vendors and API developers to make this information available to providers and accessible to patients. The pass-through from provider to patient should be a sure bet in response to MU3 requirements – vastly expanding the dissemination of resource information and increasing the return on investment for the development of materials.
Integrating patient application data. Finally, the need to accept more data from patients has the potential to overwhelm physicians. Patients today are collecting more health-related data than ever before, and we suspect even more will collect data as methods to provide such data to their physicians increase. Pharmaceutical companies can help formulate the future in their disease state by researching and distributing methods to analyze disease-specific patient information and converting them to data-driven insights that physicians can use as they discuss treatment options with patients.
Although the MU3 implementation horizon is a few years away, pharmaceutical manufacturers should start now to capitalize on the opportunities MU3 requirements present. Let Point-of-Care Partners help you better understand what can be done and how to get started.