If you’re in healthcare, you are familiar with MACRA, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization act of 2015—bipartisan legislation that requires the US Centers for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS) to implement an incentive program. Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) evaluates clinicians in four areas—Quality, Improvement Activities, Promoting Interoperability, and Cost. Healthcare providers earn points in these areas which then determines whether they earn a payment incentive, remain the same in payment, or face a payment penalty.

MIPS is widespread, with a clinician participation rate of 91% during its first year of operation according to the CMS. However, while there is widespread participation, a study from 2017 found that the majority of doctors treating Medicare patients were not familiar with how they were being evaluated by Medicare. In the interest of better understanding how evaluation occurs, we list 5 key ways that providers can improve their MIPS score.

  1. Focus on patient engagement through secure messaging.

The quality category counts for 50% of the MIPS score. Patient engagement is proven to positively impact areas like medication adherence which leads to better outcomes that MIPS quality metrics consider. While patient engagement can of course occur via multiple communication channels, secure messaging is an effective, HIPAA-compliant way to engage patients in a way that suits both their and your lifestyles. 99% of text messages are opened and 90% are read within 3 minutes of receipt. Secure messaging is the modern and confidential way to communicate with patients.

  1. Keep patients informed.

Health information is at the heart of patient engagement efforts associated with CMS’ regulatory programs. Make sure that it is easy for patients to access health information. This can be done by sharing direct information over secure messaging with them and sharing information with patients about what they should do for treatment at home—all without violating HIPAA.

  1. Send patients reminders.

Part of quality healthcare is following-up with patients, making sure after diagnosis that they are returning for the treatment they need. Unfortunately, it is all too easy for patients to accidentally miss appointments or forget to take the medicine needed before a procedure. Automated secure messages to patients can help patients remember appointments or adhere to medication—messaging is proven to improved appointment attendance and medication adherence.

  1. Track information.

Communicating with patients via secure messaging can help providers track information necessary for an improved MIPS score. For example, if you are tracking reduced pain for patients, you can have patients securely communicate their levels of pain via secure messaging.

  1. Streamline work.

By communicating via secure messaging, your care team is freed up from the tedious work of phone calls or conversations—and can function much more efficiently. Appointment reminders can be automated, increasing the number of patients seen. Communicating via secure messaging also makes physician referral that much easier—allowing physicians to coordinate closely and conveniently and increasing quality of care.

Secure messaging can play a key role in patient engagement and improve your MIPS score. To learn more about how secure messaging enhances patient engagement read Creating a Circle of Caring Text with Vaporstream or Vaporstream Engage: Automating Complex Patient Care Communications.

Contributor: The Vaporstream Team