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athenahealth Leads in Meaningful Use Stage 2 Attestations

Zacks Equity Research

athenahealth, Inc. (ATHN) proclaimed that it leads the healthcare industry in Meaningful Use Stage 2 attestations. The company has revealed that its clients comprise 59.2% of the total providers in the U.S. who have successfully attested to Stage 2 of the Meaningful Use electronic health record (:EHR) incentive program as of May 31, 2014.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) recently published a full list of EHR products used for attestation. According to the publication, 287 of the 485 eligible providers who have attested for Stage 2 of Meaningful Use employ the company’s Best in KLAS ranked service – athenaClinicals.

athenahealth’s Meaningful Use Success

athenahealth, a cloud-based services provider for EHR, practice management and care coordination, delivered an 85% successful attestation rate for 2011 Medicare Meaningful Use Stage 1, Year 1. Building on the success of its 2011 attestation rate, 96% of the company’s participating providers successfully attested for 2012 Medicare Meaningful Use Stage 1, Year 1. Furthermore, in 2013, athenahealth led the industry in Meaningful Use Stage 1 attestations, with 95.4% of its participating providers attesting successfully.

Advancing to Meaningful Use Stage 2, athenahealth introduced the same across its nation-wide cloud based network in Oct 2013. Currently, athenahealth is the only EHR vendor to publicly track its clients' Meaningful Use performance and offer a Meaningful Use Guarantee for successful attestations.

The Meaningful Use guarantee offered by athenahealth ensures that eligible physicians receive their Medicare Meaningful Use incentive payments upon successful attestations.

Meaningful Use: Decoded

Meaningful Use is a Medicare and Medicaid program introduced by the U.S. Government that awards incentives to caregivers who adopt and implement the certified EHR technology to improve patient care. The program is executed in a phased approach over a series of 3 stages with increasing requirements for participation.

Stage 1 promotes basic EHR adoption and data gathering. Stage 2 emphasizes on care coordination and exchange of patient information. Stage 3, which is currently under development by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC.TO), ultimately aims at improving healthcare outcomes.

Present Scenario

The Meaningful Use Program is currently affected by several delays and loosened requirements. It has been largely influenced by several software vendors who failed to upgrade their EHR products, receive certification or adequately support their health care provider clients.

Recently, a proposal was forwarded by CMS and ONC to the Health IT Policy Committee to ease attestation requirements and delay the program’s overall timeline. ONC intends to make the program more flexible and less focused on providers meeting a specific set of clinical quality measurements.

The ultimate objective is to ensure that Meaningful Use is seamlessly integrated into the workflow of as many healthcare providers in order to ensure superior quality care for patients across the U.S.

Currently, athenahealth carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). Better-ranked stocks in the medical products industry include Cardica Inc. (CRDC), ICU Medical, Inc. (ICUI) and NeuroMetrix Inc. (NURO). All these stocks carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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