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Innovation

Expect Markle letter to guide meaningful use

Vendors can conform to any vague goals that might be proposed, but what the letter demands first are results, hard numbers meant to cut costs. Will stimulus money be taken back if the output goals aren't met, but the input goals are?
Written by Dana Blankenhorn, Inactive on

Tomorrow, an advisory committee meets under NCHIT David Blumenthal (right) to finalize definitions of "meaningful use" that will drive health IT spending under the Obama stimulus.

A letter sent to the group today by the Markle Foundation and allied groups organized under the URL Connected for Health is most likely to drive the final decision.

That's likely because Markle and its two co-authors -- the Center for American Progress and the Engleberg Center of the Brookings Institution -- are generally allied with the Obama Administration. And because the letter seems aligned to the goals Blumenthal himself laid out last month.

What the letter calls for is that policy concentrate on the "feedback loop" -- the delivery and use of important quality data that can drive down costs.

Goals should include a reduction in medication errors, delivery of cost and quality data back to patients and doctors, and an allowance for "virtual networks" of clinicians who can make quick use of the data.

The letter makes no mention of CCHIT, no mention of specific technologies, very little about speeds and feeds. Instead it focuses on systems like payment networks, and on networks that use what information is generated, rather than those which create it.

Basically, the letter focuses on collecting meaningful information that can inform changes to health care practice, and the rapid use of that information in guiding what doctors do.

Vendors can conform to any vague goals that might be proposed, but what the letter demands first are results, hard numbers meant to cut costs. Will stimulus money be taken back if the output goals aren't met, but the input goals are?

The final instructions on meaningful use are expected to be released late tomorrow.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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