Misconceptions Around Meaningful Use

Posted on February 2, 2010 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.

I was reading an online forum today and was blown away by something someone said about meaningful use:

The “Meaningful Use” stages can only be met if the systems are easy to use and the data is accessible in a timely matter. This will mean that EHR/EMR systems will need in-depth analytical capabilities or the information accessible by Business Intelligence systems that understand healthcare.

Healthcare organizations that understand this will be able to tap into the upwards of millions of dollars set aside by the government in the stimulus package.

Ok, I can’t really knock the fact that EMR software needs to be easy to use. I think they probably meant to say that the EMR vendor needs to make it easy to enter the data required to show “meaningful use.” This seems like a given that every EMR vendor that wants their users to get EMR stimulus money should consider. Sadly, I think they’re likely to find this a VERY difficult task.

Although, what bothers me about this quote is the idea that you need some sort of in-depth analytical capabilities or some sort of BI (Business Intelligence) system to show meaningful use. Take a quick look at this simple meaningful use matrix or the list of 25 meaningful use objectives. Which of the criteria requires this in depth analysis and BI? None of them. At most they’re a pretty simple report.

Now I’m not saying that meeting the requirements of meaningful use is easy. However, the work around meaningful use is around the entry of the data and ensuring that you’re entering the data for all 25 meaningful use objectives. The hard part isn’t accessing the data once it’s in the EMR.