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Meaningful Use Overview

Meaningful Use refers to a set of 15 criteria that medical providers must meet in order to prove that they are using their EMR as an effective tool in their practice. There are 10 additional criteria that are considered a la carte menu items, from which only five need to be demonstrated by the medical provider. In total, each provider must complete 20 Meaningful Use criteria—listed in detail below—to qualify for stimulus payments during stage one of the EHR incentive program. The criteria are established by the ONC with public input. Practice Fusion participates in the process to determine criteria.


Meaningful Use will be measured in stages over five years. Each stage represents a level of adoption. Many HHS-certified EMR systems will allow providers to complete all Meaningful Use criteria. Although, some health IT vendors may choose to only be certified for certain criteria. Practice Fusion is certified for all 20 criteria – physicians don't need to work with any additional vendors in order to qualify for EMR incentives.

  • Stage One: Essentially, use major functionality of a certified EMR. Document set percentages of your visits, diagnoses, prescriptions, immunizations and other relevant health information electronically; use clinical support tools (warnings and reminders that will be included in certified EMRs); share patient information; and report quality measures and public health information.
  • Stage Two: In addition to continuing to use all functionality from stage 1, physicians will be required to use an EMR to send and receive information such as lab orders and results. Proposed stage 2 criteria are currently out for public comment.Stage Three: Continue fulfilling criteria from stages 1 and 2 plus clinical decisions support for national high priority conditions, enrolling patients in a PHR, accessing comprehensive patient data and improving population health.
  • Stage 3 criteria have not yet been defined in detail.