New EHR Module for Advance Directives Certified for EHR Incentive Programs

Bloomberg BNA's Health IT Law & Industry Report brings you concise, comprehensive, and timely news and analysis of the regulatory, legal, and compliance issues surrounding our nation’s...

By Genevieve Douglas  

A new service that allows individuals to create universal advance digital directives for free and then makes them accessible through a secure database to hospitals and health care providers has been certified for use in the “meaningful use” incentive program.

The electronic health record module, called MyDirectives.com, can be paired with complete EHR systems to fulfill the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive program criteria requiring the recording of advance directives, according to a May 15 press release from ADVault Inc.

The advance directive EHR module addresses a gap in health IT solutions to allow for electronic recording of advance directive data while also empowering patients and working toward patient-centered care, Jeff Zucker, chief executive officer of ADVault, told BNA May 18.

The advance digital directive consolidates the necessary legal forms needed to create an advance directive document, and gives individuals the ability to use audio and video messages for their advance care plan, Zucker said.

Advance medical directives are documents that give instructions about future medical treatment preferences in case an individual becomes unable to make decisions or communicate, or if a court determines that person to be incompetent.

Consumer-created advance directives are able to more accurately reflect patients' wishes, because they include answers to qualitative questions, such as patient treatment goals or religious preferences, Zucker said.

Meaningful Use.

Although MyDirectives.com was not created in response to “meaningful use” criteria, the creators of the technology support the technology's inclusion and believe that electronic advance directives should be increasingly required for patients as part of meaningful use.

Meaningful use criteria for certified EHRs will encourage hospitals to pursue advance directives and give providers “an economic value to do the right thing for their patients and their patients' families,” Scott Brown, president of ADVault, told BNA.

Proposed criteria for Stage 2 of the EHR incentive programs include optional objectives that would require providers to have an advance directive status recorded as structured data for 50 percent of all patients 65 or older.

ADVault plans to work with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology's HIT Policy Committee on Stage 3 meaningful use criteria to reach these goals, Zucker said.

In comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, ADVault requested that the agency follow the recommendation of the HIT Policy Committee and make advance directives a mandatory requirement of Stage 2.

“These objectives are achievable today without unduly burdening eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, or critical access hospitals,” according to the comments.


Information on MyDirectives.com is available at http://mydirectives.com/.

The ADVault comments are available at http://op.bna.com/hl.nsf/r?Open=gdos-8uhme8.