Opting Out of Meaningful Use Stage 2

Posted on August 19, 2013 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.

An old post about meaningful use stage 1 called Hardest Meaningful Use Measure recently was tweeted on @ehrandhit as a way to share from our vault of blog posts. Swithin Chandler saw the tweet and left a really interesting comment when it comes to how challenge meaningful use stage 2 is compared with meaningful use stage 1. Here’s part of his comment (emphasis added):

We’ve had relative success, and I stress relative, in making it as easy as possible in our EHR for our doctors to attest for Meaningful Use Stage 1 as one independent poll showed.

But with MU2 it is getting much harder. There are requirements that demand additional data entry, whether typing, clicking, or dictating that no EHR vendor can help doctors avoid.

My greatest concern is that doctors look at the changes needed to their workflow and decide the incentive is not worth it. I think there are some MU2 requirements that are very cool from a healthcare technology perspective (and as a patient), but one could certainly argue that giving doctors the features they’re asking for that are not in MU2 may be more valuable to them adopting EHR technology than some features they don’t want that are in MU2.

I think there’s a really good chance that huge numbers of doctors will opt out of meaningful use stage 2. As I recently discussed with our local congressman, the inverted incentives of meaningful use don’t make much sense. Usually when you require someone to do more, you compensate them more. In meaningful use as you are required to do more, they pay you less.

I do think the meaningful use penalties will encourage many doctors to press on through the various stages of meaningful use. However, there will also be a large group of doctors who decide that the cost of meaningful use stage 2 is more than the penalties for not being a meaningful user.

If you still don’t believe this is the case, last I checked only only a small handful of EHR vendors have become MU stage 2 certified. As Swithin says above, it’s not easy (and I suggest might be impossible) for an EHR vendor to make MU stage 2 easy for providers. No doubt this is a huge reason why many EHR vendors are still not MU stage 2 certified (or I think it’s officially called 2014 Edition EHR Products). Certainly all of them could have rushed the requirements for EHR certification, but implementing the EHR certification requirements without making life miserable for the end user is a challenging and possibly impossible task.