Misleading Meaningful Use Marketing

Posted on March 11, 2011 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.

In one of my recent discussions with a reader of EMR and HIPAA, they said they loved this site because I don’t have any agenda. Then, they quickly clarified, your only agenda is to have transparency in the process. Your agenda is to bring to light all the information related to a certain topic so that doctors can make an informed decision.

I think this reader hit it right on the head. I really don’t have an agenda. I’m generally pro-EHR, but I understand doctors misgivings on why they’re concerned about doing it. Although, I am completely fanatical about having transparency and good information (both good and bad) about the EMR and EHR process.

That’s why I get all worked up when EMR advertising or EMR sales people provide misleading information. In fact, I have a whole category on my site for what I refer to as EMR Sales Miscommunications. To be honest, most of the misinformation is not intentional (although, there are certainly exceptions). Instead, it’s usually someone answering a question for which they don’t actually know the real information.

Today’s misleading information comes from a blog post by Athena Health (which was also included in their newsletter). The title basically says it all: “A Shreveport OB-GYN Gets $21,250 for Meaningful Use of an EMR”


As Lynn pointed out in her latest Meaningful Use Monday post, no one has been able to show meaningful use yet. The government hasn’t done any checking on meaningful use yet. Not to mention, not a single person has been paid any EHR incentive money for Medicare yet (where we’re going to see the bulk of meaningful use).

Instead, the blog post describes that the practice got the EHR incentive money because they have a “high Medicaid population.” Which makes total sense, because in the Medicaid EHR incentive program there is currently no requirement that you be a meaningful user of an EHR. The title could have more accurately read, “A Shreveport OB-GYN Gets $21,250 from the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program for Buying an EMR.”

The crazy thing is that I’m sure that many people at Athena Health know the difference and realize that it’s a terrible title. In fact, the title was probably written by some marketing or PR person who barely knows the difference between Medicaid and Medicare. Let alone the difference in how the various EHR incentive programs work. Although, why would someone with knowledge at Athena Health change the headline when it benefits Athena to have that misinformation out there?

This kind of stuff gets under my skin. I hate when people are misled by bad information. Add in the complexities and vagueness of meaningful use and the EHR government hand outs and it’s a the perfect microcosm for misleading marketing.

UPDATE: Props to AthenaHealth for updating their blog post to correct the misleading information.