The virtual "ink" is barely dry on the July 13, 2010 final rule on Stage 1 Meaningful Use criteria, but the federally chartered Health IT Policy Committee is already beginning to talk about Stage 2. Modern Healthcare reports in a September 17 article (registration required) that the advisory body met this week to review a schedule for implementing standards that will apply to eligibility for federal funding for users of electronic health records during fiscal years 2012-2013. The meaningful use work-group's initial draft of Stage 2 criteria is anticipated to be presented to the full Committee by October 20 and released for public comment shortly afterwards. The goal is to submit final recommendations to the Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology by the end of June, 2011.

While developing Stage 2 criteria, the Committee will also be reviewing provider feedback on the implementation of Stage 1 criteria, prompting Committee member Richard Chapman to comment:

"We're going to have to ride our bike and fix it at the same time here, which is, we're going to get feedback, but only so much of it we'll be able to be put into Phase 2. Some will have to be staged later, even into (Stage) 3 or whenever we get there because I think we're going to find out there could be a showstopper along the way."

Providers will want to monitor these efforts carefully when selecting EHR vendors and designing systems and policies to ensure that their Stage 1 use can be expanded to include Stage 2 criteria when they kick in.