The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has allotted nearly $20 billion for EHRs and related health IT. Those stimulus funds will go to physicians and hospitals who demonstrate “meaningful use” of certified EHRs. Not surprisingly, the term “meaningful use” has received a lot of attention by both industry and administration officials. The definition is important because healthcare providers must demonstrate meaningful use of EHRs to qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments starting in 2011 under the economic stimulus law.
Last week, a significant action was taken by the Health Information Technology Policy Committee that will set the blueprints for electronic health records (EHRs) systems in the United States. The HIT Policy Committee approved revisions to an initial definition of “meaningful use,” sending those on to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and other groups within the Department of Health and Human Services.
“We are moving fast to achieve the President’s goal to improve the health and well-being of every American through the on-going use of health information technology,” stated HHS’ National Coordinator for Health Information Technology David Blumenthal, said in a statement. “The work of the policy committee is a first step toward assuring that technology — the electronic health record — is used in a meaningful way to provide better patient care.”
The adopted definition of meaningful use is a matrix of more than two dozen requirements, including issues of patient access, privacy, EHR certification, and a revised timeline for implementation criteria. But the revised definition recommendations have received mixed reviews. Particular problems surround the hurried pace of implementation deadlines.
“We remain concerned that many hospitals that haven’t already adopted health IT systems may find the proposed timelines unachievable,” said Don May, American Hospital Association vice president for policy, in a written statement.
To help parse out the difficult and sometimes confusing issues surrounding “meaningful use” Perot Systems’ executive vice president and chief medical officer, Dr. Harry Greenspun, will host a webinar this Thursday, July 23rd, at 2pm ET.
The webinar is meant to provide an industry perspective on the HIT Policy Committee’s framework by discussing the progress of “meaningful use” and looking at the advantages and disadvantages of early and late EHR adopton. The webinar will also recommending next steps for healthcare leaders responsible for health IT implementation.
To register: Go to www.perotsystems.com/insights.