Purpose of Meaningful Use

Posted on August 8, 2012 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.

Lately I’ve been quite disturbed as I’ve read all sorts of commentary about the “Purpose of Meaningful Use.” Here’s one such comment on meaningful use that I read recently:

My impression is that EMRs and meaningful use were about getting Americans to practice evidence-based and comparative effectiveness medicine towards a more streamlined and cost-effective US Healthcare System

Some of you might remember when I questioned the “meaning” of meaningful use as described by Farzhad Mostashari. So, this is not a new subject for me to consider.

Here’s the problem:

The purpose of meaningful use was to be sure the ARRA money was spent on software that doctors actually end up using. Everyone has then taken meaningful use whatever direction they want.

We can certainly talk about the possible impacts and unintended consequences of meaningful use, but let’s not confuse the possible impacts with the purpose of the legislation.

It turns out that meaningful use is actually accomplishing its purpose as I describe it above. At least in Medicare where meaningful use is a requirement there aren’t EHR companies gaming the EHR incentive money like they are in Medicaid. Sure, with self attestation you could lie about your “meaningful use” of an EHR, but I have yet to see it and think it is very unlikely.

You may have noticed that I don’t write about meaningful use as much here on EMR and EHR. That’s because on EMR and HIPAA I (with some great help) have been doing a weekly Meaningful Use Monday series over the past year. Check it out if you’re interested in the details of meaningful use.