Physician Reaction to Meaningful Use

Posted on March 30, 2012 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.

An EHR vendor recently got some bad news about a doctor who chose not to implement EHR. In the response, the doctor gave them this message:

“Meaningful use is the destructive component that all of medicine should be fighting as it clearly prevents the EMR from achieving it’s potential.”

My gut reaction to this comment is: He’s right.

I’ve often talked about how meaningful use and certified EHR have hijacked an entire EHR development cycle. That means that all 300+ EHR companies had the same development list for that time period instead of focusing on creating a broad variety of innovative solutions for doctors and patients.

I imagine some would argue that EHR vendors had a lot of years to create innovations and they fell short of doctors’ expectations and so meaningful use will get them to implement features they should have implemented long ago. In some cases, this is accurate. I actually love meaningful use stage 2’s focus on interoperability. A feature that should have been developed long ago and should have been. Although, on the whole I think we are missing out on a lot of potential benefits that EMR could provide an office because the EMR developers aren’t being allowed to innovate.

I’d also argue that our billing system has had that same effect on EHR. Instead of developing EMR software that will improve patient care, it was built to maximize reimbursement.

Going back to the doctor mentioned above. While I can agree that meaningful use diminishes the value of what an EHR could potentially provide a clinic, that doesn’t mean that the EHR doesn’t still provide value. That’s like saying that a $10 bill isn’t worth as much since with an extra 0 it would be a $100 bill, so I’ll throw out the $10 bill because it’s not providing all the value that it could provide if they’d done something a bit different.

At this point, I always refer back to my list of EMR benefits. There are benefits to EHR adoption beyond government handouts. Although, for some reason we get all crazy when the government starts handing out money and forget about other outside reasons to do something.