Meaningful use to be phased in

Meaningful use to be phased in

Summary: The big headline coming out of yesterday's Health Information Technology Policy Committee meeting in Washington is that the definition of "meaningful use," under which gear becomes eligible for HITECH stimulus money, will be phased-in.

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The big headline coming out of yesterday's Health Information Technology Policy Committee meeting in Washington is that the definition of "meaningful use," under which gear becomes eligible for HITECH stimulus money, will be phased-in.

(Were you at the Theta Chi alumni pig banquet at North Dakota State in February? Neither was I.)

In other words CCHIT won't be able to legally prevent vendors from getting subsidies in the near-term, because requirements for 2011 money are pretty basic.

  • Capture data in a coded format. This means medications, drug allergies, vital signs and lab reports.
  • Use eprescribing and check for adverse reactions through a database.

The idea would be to tighten things up gradually, so that by 2013 doctors are using clinical decision-support systems and by 2015 they have a robust EMR system in place for all patients.

Privacy is not defined. Specialists are not required to have more support than generalists. The coding format is not specified. Integration is not addressed, and CCHIT's role is not mentioned. These issues upset some members of the committee as they addressed the media after the meeting.

The real danger, however, is that the CCHIT certified systems all meet the 2011 standards, and can advertise themselves as meeting them. It should also be added that CCHIT favored the phased-in approach in its April testimony to the group.

A "logo" campaign by CCHIT could also be very powerful in the market, with buyers asking open source vendors why they don't have them. A monopoly does not have to be legislated to exist.

CCHIT head Mark Leavitt tried to finesse this point in April, suggesting "experimental" certification for some projects and grants to allow "vulnerable populations" to get non-certified gear.

But that's rhetoric. More action is still needed to guarantee open source, open standards and innovation a seat at the health IT subsidy banquet. The group is now soliciting comment on the recommendations. Hit the link.

Topics: Health, CXO, Open Source, IT Employment

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3 comments
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  • Good article.. but i dont get your what your rhetoric has to do with it.

    Sounds like they are offering funding to anyone who can follow the guidelines. I would assume that would also mean open source.

    Personally, i think it leaves many areas that are important open to interpretation.

    What they should do is setup the certification for each software major revision. This software is certified for 2009 standards, but not 2010 standards. Then say... Until you upgrade to the newest version, you continue to receive funding.

    This will encourage continued spending on maintenance and force software companies to continually improve their software.

    I wouldn?t necessarily say they have to recertify the entire program, more that they would have to review the next major edition of the software. I would say the software needs to go through a very tough and thorough certification process every 5-7 years.
    Been_Done_Before
    • Good Points

      Questions of certification and keeping things up
      to date are very important, and you offer some
      good ideas in that area.

      The concern from the outset was that private
      industry would hijack this process to lock-out
      new technologies. That's the source of the
      rhetoric. I apologize if you were offended by
      it.

      DanaBlankenhorn
  • Brian Klepper gets lots of credit

    This is great news for innovation, bad news for 1980's technology from AllScripts, Epic, and Eclipsys.

    Lets give credit where credit is due: Brian Klepper
    pjdelsh007@...