On December 6, 2013, CMS announced its intention to push back implementation of the Stage 3 meaningful use criteria for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs. Under the new timeline, Stage 2 will be extended through 2016 and Stage 3 will begin in 2017 (instead of 2016) for those providers that have completed at least two years in Stage 2. By way of background, under Stage 1 (which began in 2011), the “meaningful use” criteria focus on capturing and sharing data. Stage 2 meaningful use criteria focus on exchange of clinically relevant information between providers and promote patients’ secure online access to their health information. Under Stage 3, meaningful use will include demonstrating improvement in quality of health care. CMS intends to release a proposed rule for Stage 3 in the fall of 2014, with a final rule to follow in the first half of 2015. The blog post also outlines a related Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) plan to allow for more frequent updates of certification criteria under the ONC HIT Certification Program.