692 Pages of Government Meaningful Use Regulation

Posted on January 3, 2010 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.

UPDATE: Who knows what HHS is up to, but the original links I had for these documents were moved and/or taken down. So, I found some new links, but the new links have different page numbers. Although, all it looks like HHS did was reformat it with a smaller font and cut it into multiple parts. I wonder if this is just them trying to lower the number of pages since the PR they got for the initial documents was so bad. Looks like there are more of essentially the same documents on Regulations.gov where you can provide feedback on the proposed rules.

As I’ve suggested in my previous posts, I’m planning to do some future blog post analysis of the Meaningful Use Interim Final Rule that was recently released by ONC. However, I can’t help but comment on the amount of legalese (is that even a word) that surrounds these types of regulations. The meaningful use interim final rule (PDF of rule) is 556 pages long. The “Standards & Certification Interim Final Rule: Initial Set of Standards, Implementation Specifications, and Certification Criteria for Electronic Health Record Technology” (PDF of rule) otherwise known as the EHR certification requirements is a mere 136 pages.

Yep, that’s a full 692 pages. Granted much of it can quickly be ignored (ie. the glossary, background, etc). However, it’s no wonder that it takes so long to do anything in government if it’s going to take 692 pages to digest what needs to be done. I’m sure there’s a ton of background to why this is the way it is but it’s really quite sad.

Of course, that’s probably why a site like mine will be of benefit to readers. Hopefully I can take those 692 pages and help to summarize the important details and what it will mean to those interested in the EMR stimulus. I also won’t be shy in linking to other people who provide great summaries of the HITECH act. If you know of any, let me know as well so we can all learn and grow together.

Until then, feel free to take a look at ONC/HHS pages on meaningful use and certified EHR. ONC still hasn’t posted the details on EHR certification bodies. So, don’t go looking for that. Much more to come.

Finally, 2 interesting quotes I heard recently (paraphrased):

“Whether you like the health care reform or not, it’s been amazing at how much more educated we are about the legislative process thanks to health care reform.”
I think this is also true in regards to the HITECH act EMR stimulus money.

“It’ll be a great year decade for the EMR consultants….”