The role of patient education in achieving EMR/EHR Meaningful Use

Learn how to incorporate educational materials into your EMR/EHR system and deliver them to your patients to satisfy Meaningful Use criteria

Getting the most out of your EMR/EHR

Most HCP practices have implemented an Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system or an Electronic Health Records (EHR) system. When fully functional, these systems can provide numerous advantages:

Please note that the links below will direct you to external websites.

However, even with the fundamentals of an EMR/EHR system in place, many offices have an opportunity for quality improvement, enhanced patient care, and overall efficiency and cost savings.

Regional Extension Centers (RECs) help providers navigate the entire EMR/EHR continuum, from the basics of adopting an EMR/EHR process to maximizing efficiency of their system and meeting Meaningful Use criteria. RECs are located in every region of the country, and serve as an invaluable source of information and technological support.

Find a REC near you*

Incorporating patient education into your EMR/EHR system

As you can see from the chart below, there are many certified EMR/EHR software solutions available for eligible professionals and hospitals.

    Customers Users
1 eClinicalWorks 70,000 410,000
2 McKesson 40,000 200,000
3 Practice Fusion 17,000 150,000
4 CureMD 29,345 143,423
5 Allscripts 8,800 160,000
6 Greenway 13,000 100,000
7 Cerner 10,000 55,000
8 Kareo 25,000 7,000
9 Epic 295 273,000
10 iPatientCare 8,947 54,380

For your convenience, we’ve highlighted a few of today’s most popular systems, and the respective strategy for incorporating patient materials into each system. Please note that the links below will direct you to external websites.


The Patient Portal, powered by eClinicalWorks, provides a secure communication channel between you and your patients and allows patients to be proactive in the management of their own health. They can review their personal health records (PHR), view lab results, request refills of authorized prescriptions, request referrals, request education material, or simply ask general questions. Fully integrated with the healow app, patients can access their patient portal account securely and manage their family’s healthcare anytime, anywhere.


For patients who have moderate-to-low levels of disease severity, there is an ongoing need to improve the patient's compliance, education, and understanding of how to maintain wellness. These individuals are not typically enrolled in a high-intensity care management program, yet they need to remain activated and engaged to prevent escalations of their conditions. Emerging patient education tools and solutions aim to provide ongoing educational and motivational support in an electronic format. For an organization with value-based contracts, these tools provide a low-cost, highly effective way to help patients self-manage and control their conditions—and to recognize any signs of deterioration.

Practice Fusion

Practice Fusion makes fulfillment of Meaningful EMR Use: Menu Criteria 3- Patient-Specific Education simple. We have joined forces with a leading patient-education portal to make access simple. The system is based on the diagnosis that you enter for your patients. When assigning a diagnosis to a patient, you simply click the Patient Education button. This will produce a website with the pertinent information. You can share the website with your patient or, as a further service, print the materials for them.

It is important to remember that each EMR/EHR platform varies significantly in functionality and design. Please contact your EMR/EHR system administrator or the Regional Extension Center near you with system-specific questions beyond what is shown.

Summary of EMR/EHR Meaningful Use criteria

In order to meet Meaningful Use criteria, professionals and hospitals must adopt a certified EMR/EHR technology and achieve specific objectives. These objectives and measures evolve in 3 stages over 5 years.

Stage 1


Data capture and sharing

  • Electronically capturing health information in a standarized format
  • Using that information to track key clinical conditions
  • Communicating that information for care coordination processes
  • Initiating the reporting of clinical quality measures and public health information
  • Using information to engage patients and their families in their care

Stage 2


Advance clinical processes

  • More rigorous health information exchange (HIE)
  • Increased requirements for e-prescribing and incorporating lab results
  • Electronic transmission of patient care summaries across multiple settings
  • More patient-controlled data

Stage 3


Improved outcomes

  • Improving quality, safety, and efficiency, leading to improved health outcomes
  • Decision support for national high-priority conditions
  • Patient access to self-management tools
  • Access to comprehensive patient data through patient-centered HIE
  • Improving population health

The importance of patient education to achieving Meaningful Use

Incorporating patient materials into your EMR/EHR is an important component of attesting to Meaningful Use.

Most EMR/EHR systems have a library of patient education material. These systems will often recommend targeted patient education depending on a patient’s diagnosis, clinical history, or previous distribution of materials.

Many systems also allow incorporation and usage of external patient education, such as the teaching tools and educational materials on this site.

While providing patient-specific educational resources is a menu objective for Meaningful Use Stage 1, it is a required core objective for attesting to Meaningful Use Stage 2.

Please note that the links below will direct you to external websites.

EMR/EHR Meaningful Use definition and goals

Meaningful Use is a set of criteria applied to EMR/EHR technology to achieve health and efficiency goals. The Meaningful Use objectives are organized into patient-driven groups that relate to the following health outcome policy priorities:

  • Improve Quality, Safety, Efficiency
  • Engage patients and families
  • Improve Care Coordination
  • Improve Public and Population Health
  • Ensure Privacy and Security for Personal Health Information

Meeting the specific objectives and demonstrating Meaningful Use allows eligible professionals and hospitals to qualify for incentive payments through the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs