HIT Policy Committee Confronts Meaningful Use and Specialists

Posted on October 27, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Goverment Health IT summarized some of the discussion that happened today at the HIT policy committee meeting which focused on the challenge of applying meaningful use across all of the various specialty groups in healthcare. Here’s some excerpts from the article:

The Health IT Policy Committee today confronted the problem of how to craft a manageable set of requirements for the “meaningful use” of health IT across an industry where specialties and new practice variations are common – and where one policy may not fit all.

Those measures were geared for what is normally a patient’s first encounter with the health system: the primary care physician. But many specialists – who do not treat a wide range of diseases and conditions – may not be able to comply with all the current 2011 [meaningful use] requirements.

“Not all objectives and measures are appropriate for all eligible professionals,” said Paul Tang, vice chairman of the Committee and chief medical information officer at Palo Alto Foundation.

As a result, the committee must decide which of the 25 meaningful use measures should apply to specialists so they still can qualify for 2011 incentive payments – and which requirements to delay introducing til 2013 and 2015.

“I don’t think it was understood that we weren’t intending to have all the measures apply to all specialists,” said Dr. David Blumenthal, the national health IT coordinator.

Unfortunately, I think this discussion has just begun and is going to get more complicated as we go. I know of a number of cases where the MU requirements just don’t make sense to a specialist. However, the challenge will be to have a set of requirements that aren’t so complex that it takes a specialist to be able to understand how the meaningful use requirements apply across the spectrum of doctors in healthcare.

What are your thoughts on how they should apply meaningful use effectively?