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Will The Government Shutdown Lead to the Meaningful Use Stage 2 Delay?

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It seems like every healthcare organization that exists has called for a delay to meaningful use stage 2. I’ve predicted before that I think that meaningful use stage 2 will have some sort of delay. I feel even more confident in that prediction thanks to the government shutdown.

With so many people not working at ONC, I think there’s a practical question of whether they can really be ready for MU stage 2. However, maybe even more powerful is that the government shutdown now gives ONC an excuse for why the delay should happen. They can blame the delay on the government shutdown and not on something else. Let’s call it the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Although, Farzad Mostashari at CHIME 2013 disagreed. Here’s the tweet I sent during his keynote presentation:

It was nice of Farzad to retweet it as well. I think he really believes this statement. I was sad he didn’t reply or retweet my other tweet:

If I were a betting man (which I’m not despite living in Vegas), I’d bet on a MU stage 2 delay. However, Farzad did place that seed of doubt in my prediction. Farzad made a good case for why some parts of meaningful use stage 2 we can’t wait on anymore. However, with him no longer as leader we’ll see if they can hold the course with no delays.

October 10, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.

Digital Health Conference in NYC

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As most of you know, I’ve been working with the New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC) for the past couple years on their Digital Health Conference. They buy some advertising on my websites, and I get the chance to attend an amazing event. I love this event, because NYeC has a great connection with the local community of doctors and hospitals and so the event is chalk full of those working in the trenches of healthcare. I expect this year to be no different.

The good news is that once again they’ve given readers of my websites a 20% registration discount. Just use the code HCS when registering at www.DigitalHealthConference.com.

They’ve lined up two keynote speakers for the event: George C. Halvorson, Chairman, Kaiser Permanente and Jim Messina, National Director, Organizing for Action; Campaign Manager, 2012 Obama Re-Election Campaign; Deputy Chief of Staff to President Obama. I like the mix of someone deeply rooted in healthcare and also someone who likely understands healthcare politics really well.

Along with the keynotes, I’m told they are looking at about 1200 attendees at the event. They’ve also published the full agenda of speakers. I look forward to seeing many of my readers at the event.

Along with the Digital Health Conference, I’ll be attending a number of other Healthcare IT conferences this year. Influential Networks has created a calendar of Fall health IT events where you’ll find myself and other influencers. Right now I have MGMA, CHIME, Healthcare Payments Processing & Compliance Summit, AHIMA, and the Digital Health Conference on my dance card. I may add mHealth Summit as well. Should make for an exciting fall conference season.

Let me know if you’ll be at any of these conferences. I always love to connect with readers in person.

September 5, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.

Healthcare Groups Want Meaningful Use Evaluated Before Stage 3

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Though the final rules for Meaningful Use Stage 3 aren’t due to take effect until 2016, ONC has already made the draft rules available for public comment.  And comments, to be sure, the agency is getting.

While various groups have chosen their own details to critique, the general consensus seems to be that ONC is getting ahead of itself and ought to give Meaningful Use Stage 1 and 2 a good hard look first.

Accordng to a nice summary from iHealthBeat, here’s where some of the major healthcare groups stand:

* The American Hospital Association is recommending that ONC fund a comprehensive evaluation of MU generally, and while it does, hold off on finalizing Stage 3 recommendations.

*  CHIME, too, is asking ONC to evaluate the existing Meaningful Use program to decide whether achieving stage 3 is realistically possible by 2016.

* The Federation of American Hospitals is also arguing that ONC needs to evaluate current Meaningful Use requirements.  Also, in its letter to ONC, the group argues that the existing structure of two years per stage doesn’t cut it.

* The AMA weighed in with its own recommendation that ONC evaluate Meaningful Use as is before moving ahead. It also suggested changing some thresholds to  make them more reachable; greater flexibility in program requirements; change the certification process to address usability; and improve HIT’s capability to share patient data.

Personally, I think the idea of doing an extensive Meaningful Use evalulation sounds like a good one, and I hope ONC actually does so.  When you’re setting new standards that affect so many providers, why not gather some data on how existing standards work?

January 16, 2013 I Written By

Katherine Rourke is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

Hospital CIO Jobs

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The past couple days, I’ve been at the CHIME Fall CIO Forum in Palm Springs. This is my first time attending the event and it’s been an eye opening experience to say the least. It’s an amazing experience to have casual conversations with many in the healthcare IT industry and particularly with hospital CIOs.

While chatting with a former hospital CIO who now is on the vendor side, he made this fascinating observation:

I travel around and talk to a handful of CIOs every week as part of my job. When I meet with these hospital CIOs and hear about the challenges they face in their institution, I don’t get the feeling “That’s a really swell place to work. I want that job.”

In this current economic climate, it’s hard for anyone to feel really bad for a well paid hospital CIO (Yes, some are better paid than others). I acknowledge that many around the country would argue that a hospital CIO should be glad to have a job, and one that pays above the national average salary.

This general economic argument aside, I think it’s worth noting the challenging situation that many hospital CIOs face. Regardless of how much someone is paid, that doesn’t change the enormous challenge that most hospital CIOs confront every day.

Yes, we could start with the list of alphabet soup including: meaningful use, EHR, ACOs, 5010, HIE, and ICD-10 to name just a few. However, that’s just the beginning of what they’re dealing with in their jobs. Another major one worth mentioning is managing the budgets. It’s a complex, high pressure job whenever money is involved. Add in all the various maintenance, people management, process management, etc etc etc and the hospital CIO has a tough job.

This has never been more clear to me than at CHIME where the hospital CIOs all come and commiserate. I don’t think we should feel bad for these hospital CIOs and I don’t think they’re asking us to do that either. Although, it’s worth acknowledging that hospital CIOs face a tough and challenging job and I don’t see that changing any time soon. I appreciate those that are willing to take up the challenge and that perform so well in the face of such a changing environment.

October 18, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.

Workforce and Regional Extension Center Challenges in HITECH Act

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I just read one of the best blog posts I’d read in a long time. So much so that I just had to post part of it a link to it on my site. The post is called “Far From Shovel-Ready” by Anthony Guerra. I think you all should go and read the entire post. It’s well thought out and well written. I don’t know Anthony Guerra personally, but our paths have regularly crossed on the internet. I hope one day to have the pleasure of meeting him (maybe at HIMSS?).

His blog post starts out with this statement, “Legislation that took weeks to write will wreak havoc for years.” I’m not quite as certain as Anthony that it WILL wreak havoc. However, I’ve been warning of the possibilities of problems for a while now.

He describes the main points of his post like this:

My unpalatable HITECH morsel of the moment centers, generally, around the lack of healthcare IT workforce necessary to make the legislation’s goals a reality and, more specifically, the bizarre market dynamics that will be precipitated by the half-baked Regional Extension Center (REC) farce.

You can read the article for the rest of the details. However, those interested/worried/concerned about the workforce shortage in healthcare IT will enjoy this part of the article:

This means the fight for healthcare IT talent, which everyone agrees is heating up, will get doubly vicious, with hospitals, large practices, vendors and consultancies — and now 70 RECs — competing on what will be an uneven playing field for scarce talent.

Why uneven? Because the RECs will be able to pay fantasy wages, taxpayer funded wages, to woo the cream of your healthcare IT workforce.

At the recently held annual CHIME conference, I spoke to the CEO of a boutique HIT consultancy who said he, “needed 50 people TODAY,” but had no idea where they would come from. John Glaser, Ph.D., CIO at Partners Healthcare and senior special advisor to ONCHIT, recently wrote that those who employ healthcare IT talent must be sure their wages are fair and their work fulfilling, as poaching season is fast approaching.

November 10, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.