While the stated goals of meaningful use compliance include terms such as empowerment, improvement and efficiency, for many participating physicians the possibility of a meaningful use audit just adds another level of anxiety to the already stressful and increasingly time-consuming burden of administrating a medical practice in the current regulatory environment.

However, there are several simple things that a provider participating in meaningful use can do to help prepare his or her practice for a potential audit:

1. Be informed - get familiar with the audit process, review sample audit notification letters, take advantage of the CMS audit preparation guidance so that you know what to expect and are not caught off guard

2. Communicate - contact your EHR vendor and expect them to be able to provide you with guidance tailored to your particular system, train your staff to be familiar with documents that the practice needs to maintain in order to successfully prepare for a meaningful use audit, communicate the importance of record-keeping policies of the practice

3. Document - make sure that both electronic and paper copies of all of meaningful use documents for your EHR reporting period and attestation are safely stored (most of the document exchange with CMS auditors will occur via email)

Preparing for a meaningful use audit may not be as daunting as it seems if the right protocols are implemented in your practice. If you have questions pertaining to any regulatory aspects of preparing for a meaningful use audit or any other legal issue affecting your practice feel free to contact your healthcare legal team by phone at 212.668.0200 or via email at info@mdrxlaw.com