Giving Meaningful Use Time to Settle In

By: Allison S. Garcimonde
– Executive Insight

The news coming from the "meaningful use" frontlines in recent weeks is like the opening line of "A Tale of Two Cities." The May 26 announcement that Boston-based Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center was the first hospital to receive a Medicare meaningful use (MU) incentive payment was a sign that achievement of the goals of the HITECH Act was within reach. Yet less than 2 weeks earlier, at a public hearing held by the MU Workgroup of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Policy Committee (the Health IT Policy Committee), the reports from providers and regional extension centers regarding the pace of adoption of, and preparedness to meaningfully use, electronic health record (EHR) systems were decidedly less rosy.

Chief among the issues raised during the May 13 hearing was the concern that the EHR vendor community is too overburdened and understaffed to simultaneously meet the demands for EHR implementation, user training, MU support and system upgrades to achieve stage 2 certification.

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