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 http://www.emrandhipaa.com/wiki/EMR_and_EHR_Matrix“>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.