There’s a lot of interesting speculation going on right now around what HHS is going to do in regards to meaningful use. There’s no doubt that a lot of the feedback given to HHS on meaningful use surrounded the idea that it was too much and had too many objectives. The question remains, what will HHS do with this feedback?
A number of people have suggested that the meaningful use objectives will be relaxed. In this company is past healthcare IT czar, David Brailer. The interesting part of this chorus is that it includes a large number of providers that say it’s going to be relaxed. Then, they follow up that statement with something like, “If it’s not relaxed, then doctors won’t show meaningful use and will not worry about the EMR stimulus money.” Basically, it will become a failed government initiative if the meaningful use bar is too high.
Other people are suggesting that meaningful use is going to stay the same. Carol Flagg of HITECH Answers quotes the following from David Blumenthal as indication that meaningful use will not substantially change:
“Introducing change in health care is never easy. Historically, adopting our most fundamental medical technologies, from the stethoscope to the x-ray, were met with significant doubt and opposition. So it comes as no surprise that in the face of change as transformational as the adoption of health IT – even though it carries the promise of vastly improving the nation’s health care – some hospitals and providers push back….The question health care providers are facing today is whether we are pushing too hard, too fast to make this important change. I respectfully submit, no. In turn, I ask, ‘Can we make these changes expeditiously enough?… Every provider, every patient throughout our nation will benefit from the goals envisioned by the HITECH Act. Yes, this will be a challenge. While large hospital networks and smaller providers may be stretched to meet national health IT goals, it is not beyond their capacity for growth.”
Little by little I’m leaning this direction. I’m not sure exactly why, but I’m getting the feeling that HHS either can’t or won’t change the meaningful use criteria. It’s basically going to be similar to what we have now with maybe one or two items of note.
What do you think? What will happen with the MU final rule?