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.