The holiday season — with all of its culinary temptations — is upon us, and the one doctor I like to visit this time of year is the eye doctor. They never weigh me! Most eye doctors (ophthalmologists and optometrists) do not need to routinely measure weight to provide high quality care.

One of the core quality measures related to the Meaningful Use computes how many patients had their BMI calculated. Well, for most eye doctors, that score would be very low or zero. Does that mean that eye doctors cannot participate in the EHR Meaningful Use incentive program? Of course not. In the final meaningful use rule, the government addresses this issue and similar types of issues.

On page 44,409 of the Final Rule (July 2010), the government states:

We note that to qualify as a meaningful EHR user, EPs need only report the required clinical quality measures; they need not satisfy a minimum value for any of the numerator, denominator, or exclusions fields for clinical quality measures. The value for any or all of those fields, as reported to CMS or the States, may be zero if these are the results as displayed by the certified EHR technology. Thus, the clinical quality measure requirement for 2011 and beginning in 2012 is a reporting requirement and not a requirement to meet any particular performance standard for the clinical quality measure, or to in all cases have patients that fall within the denominator of the measure.

What is our interpretation of the rule captioned above? Essentially, providers that don’t match to a Meaningful Use quality measure are still eligible to participate with any EHR vendor that is certified and that can create a quality file on behalf of that provider. The provider should not be concerned if they report zero patients that match the measure. There is NO performance standard with regard to any of the clinical quality measures. The only performance standard is that your EHR vendor creates a clinical quality file (2011). MediTouch EHR® will do that for all providers and all specialties when they enroll with our EHR system for meaningful use.

What does this mean? Specialists that may not match some of the clinical quality measures can still participate in the EHR meaningful use incentive program, and most importantly, I don’t have to worry about getting weighed next time I visit the eye doctor!