Meaningful Use – Where is it Headed?

The 2011 HIMSS conference is rapidly approaching as is the first reimbursement opportunity for physicians who have adopted electronic medical records. Interesting timing given that that Dr. David Blumenthal, the national health IT coordinator is stepping down from his post.

I have had several physicians ask me recently where Meaningful Use will be in a year. Will we move closer toward the pantheon of interoperability? And most importantly to doctors, how should they think about this?

First let me speculate that the complexities of interoperability are immense and, while everyone talks about the clear benefits that would result, I wouldn’t hold my breath. There is simply too much money and too many bureaucrats in the mix for there to be true consensus and support. Companies will feign participation and support to a point. That IS the point. The proverbial last mile might as well be 1,000 miles. That said, I am confident the market will produce clever solutions that don’t rely on decades of standards committee pow-wows and bureaucratic red tape.

As for physicians, Dr. Blumenthal makes some valid points in a recent interview with FierceHealthIT. You can reach the interview by CLICKING HERE. I think his most pragmatic comment was the fact that EMRs are here to stay and the financial reimbursement for adopting is really a one-time deal. So, it’s time to jump in despite the downsides.

For some exposure to the efforts underway regarding interoperability, read this recent update on the Direct Project.

If you have thoughts on where Meaningful Use will be in a year or whether there will be any true interoperability, send me your comments.


2 comments on “Meaningful Use – Where is it Headed?

  1. Aaron says:

    I feel strongly as a worekr in the healthcare system that there are grave concerns about the use of EMRs, but I am realistic enough to know that they are already part of our world and will only grow to be a bigger part in coming years. I feel that the number one concern for all EMR software lies in protecting the consumers, both clients and medical personnel. Thus, I am concerned that there is not more involvement of those in the healthcare community, as this is not merely a software issue, but also a healthcare issue. I would like to see more activity by physicians and nurse in determining what is necessary to make the systems usable and to ensure that all of the potential benefits of EMRs are realized. I believe that cannot happen without more healthcare personnel input. I worry that the government will not handle this situation better than is has handled so many others and that as consumers, we will suffer the consequences. However, I can see no way around government involvement in our society, because our corporations, small businesses, etc. are not renowned for their willingness to work together and I do not see this changing in the near future, at least not as long as making a buck is the ultimate goal of developers and healthcare agencies. It will be interesting to see what develops if healthcare reform ever comes to pass, but for now, the government is, unfortunately, our only option.

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