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H H S Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Health Information Technology and Quality

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What patient demographics/preferences and reminder capabilities will I need to implement?

It is a core objective requirement that you use EHR technology to record demographics as structured data.  As described earlier in this module, structured data uses a standardized vocabulary to describe and organize information, which can then be shared electronically and used for a population-based approach or for generating reports.

Core Objective for Eligible Professionals and Eligible Hospitals:  

  • Record demographics, including preferred language, gender, race, ethnicity, date of birth.  Additionally, an eligible hospital must record date and preliminary cause of death in the event of mortality.    


  • More than 50 percent of all unique patients seen by the eligible professional or admitted to an eligible hospital’s inpatient or emergency department must have their demographics recorded as structured data.  

All certified EHRs will enable a user to electronically record, modify, and retrieve the patient demographic data listed above.  Race and ethnicity codes must follow current federal standards published by the Office of Management and Budget.  

There is also one menu set objective for implementing patient reminders.  

Menu Objective for Eligible Professionals:  

  • Send reminders to patients per patient preference for preventive or follow-up care.  


  • More than 20 percent of all unique patients 65 years and older or 5 years and younger were sent an appropriate reminder during the EHR reporting period.

These reminders should be sent according to the patient’s preferences for receiving communication from the provider.This menu set objective does not pertain to eligible hospitals.   

There are several requirements embedded in obtaining this measure.  First, the EHR technology must be certified and meet the requirements outlined in ONC’s Initial Set of Standards, Implementation Specifications, and Criteria for EHR Technology Final Rule. Certified EHR technology allows a user to electronically generate a patient reminder list for preventive or follow-up care, based on several data elements.  At the least, these data elements include a problem list, medication list, medication allergy list, demographics, and laboratory test results.

Once this reminder list has been electronically generated, the Meaningful Use measure requires the eligible professional to take action and send reminders to patients.  The format this reminder takes varies according to the individual patient’s preferences. The guidelines established under HIPAA for accommodating patient requests apply to this objective.  A provider must accommodate patient requests for communication to occur by an alternative means (e.g., oral, written, or email), if it is reasonable for the provider to do so.  

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