Business is slow for EMR/EHR software providers at a time when business should be booming. With over $20 billion of funding available in the form of reimbursements, we would expect healthcare providers to be waiting in line for their EMR/EHR implementations. Ironically, the very legislation that created this generous funding also included provisions that have given doc’s and hospitals pause. Actually, it’s more than just pause. It’s outright paralysis.
The eligibility for federal dollars is tied to “meaningful use” of “qualified” EHR sytems, which sounds simple enough. But now–nearly four months after passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)–no one knows what meaningful use is, and no one knows what a qualified EHR system is. We have some clues, but we have no official declaration.
If the Obabma adminstration is serious about HIT and EHRs, and it wants to see the economy benefit from this category of HIT spending (a secondary, but nonetheless important, objective of the funding), then the federal government needs to act quickly and decisively to define the eligibility criteria. If this cannot be accomplished quickly, then we’ll lose the economic stimulus feature of the plan–the economy is already starting to improve because of other measures taken and not taken. And if we miss the economic stimulus train, we might as well wait until a more considered approach can be taken with respect to HIT, including EHRs, in the broader scheme of healthcare reform.
What do you think? Is the lack of certainty with respect to EHR system eligibility criteria the main reason the rate of EHR adoption has not increased after passage of ARRA? What can the feds do to expedite development and promulgation of the eligibility criteria?
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