All I Want for Christmas is ARRA EHR Stimulus Answers

Posted on December 16, 2009 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.

One of my favorite bloggers, Will Weider, had a nice idea with a post called “All I Want for Christmas is ARRA Answers.” I liked the idea so much that I decided to take it and post my own questions. Plus, some of his focus on hospitals which don’t interest me as much as ambulatory. So, here are the questions I’m hoping David Blumenthal and company can provide us for Christmas.

1. What’s the HHS EHR certification criteria? Will it be a complex set of criteria with little value (see CCHIT) or will it be a streamlined version that encourages EHR adoption? Especially interesting will be comparing the HHS criteria with the CCHIT preliminary ARRA certification.

2. How will HHS define “meaningful use?” Will they follow the meaningful use matrix as proposed by the HIT Policy and Standards Committees or will they take pieces here and there?

3. Regardless of what HHS defines as “meaningful use,” how does HHS plan on measuring and ensuring meaningful use of an EHR? This will be interesting to see if HHS comes out with a plan that is scalable and difficult to game. Definitely a challenging job to ensure it’s meaningfully done. (I want to see how many times I can write the word meaningful).

4. How will the various meaningful use and certification criteria apply to specialties? Will they come out with a spectrum of meaningful use guidelines for various specialties? Will they create exemptions for certain specialties? or Will they just be vague and provide no guidance for specialties, essentially leaving them with a guessing game?

5. What will be the timeline for ARRA EHR stimulus money? Will it be paid out quarterly based on the most recent quarter or past quarters. Will you have to have ongoing proof of meaningful use quarterly or annually?

6. What will be the process for recognizing new EHR certification bodies? Will they create some barriers that only allow CCHIT to certify EHR? Will other companies like the Drummond Group really join the fray?

I’m sure there are many more. What questions are you hoping to get answered for Christmas? Although, let’s be honest. I think we’re more likely to get a New Years gift of answers than we are a Christmas one.