Should Meaningful Use be Delayed?

Posted on December 28, 2010 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the 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 and 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 guess I should have assumed that people would start posing this question. Turns out Jeff Rowe at HITECH Watch (part of Healthcare IT News) has posted the question about delaying the HITECH incentives twice in a week.

I guess it’s a reasonable question to be asked, but my emphatic answer to the question is NO!

It took us plenty long enough to get to this point. The wait for the details of meaningful use and certified EHR was a long enough wait that absolutely slowed the adoption of EMR software. There are“>300-400 EHR companies just waiting for this EHR incentive program to get going. That’s a lot of companies to hold hostage while the government tries to “make meaningful use better.”

Plus, you can quite easily argue that more time won’t actually make meaningful use substantially better. In fact, it seems reasonable to argue that more time could actually make meaningful use much uglier and discouraging for those interested in implementing an EMR.

It is also worth mentioning that there’s kind of a built in year of waiting as is. You get paid the same amount of money whether you show meaningful use starting in 2011 or 2012. The amount is the same and the meaningful use requirements are the same.

Plus, meaningful use stage 1 is already pretty generic when it comes to the reasons Jeff offers for delaying in the above article. Meaningful Use stage 2 is where ONC and CMS should focus on adding in requirements that will help us get closer to the exchange of patient data. Trying to go in and mess with meaningful use stage 1 is a mistake. Not just because the hour is near, but also because it would provide little benefit.

The article linked above had an interesting poll related to this. However, it requires registration and so there had only been one response. Hopefully this poll will get a little bit better response: