Review of the Meaningful Use Program Difficulties

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Review of the Meaningful Use Program Difficulties

While 50 Cent filing for bankruptcy and Scott Disick and Kourtney Kardashian splitting may be the talk of the hour, let’s get down to EMR business.What’s the buzz this week? Meaningful Use, of course. On July 6th, Niam Yaraghi, a fellow of the Brookings Institution’s Center for Technology Innovation, published a post regarding the failures of the Meaningful Use (MU) program.

There has been much discussion about the requirements and benefits of MU, especially since the Senate is currently debating Stage 3 and receiving the advice of Health IT.

Yaraghi believes that the environment created by MU is artificial and “destined to fail” (Tech Tank). However, he does not provide much criticism regarding Stage 1; rather he comments about how Stage 1 was established to help medical providers thrive in an EHR environment. Health IT.gov supported this comment by showing how the majority of providers attested to the success of Stage 1.

However, since then, the MU program has faced increased criticism, especially since many medical providers are having difficulty meeting the requirements of Stage 2 and will soon be facing Stage 3. In order to fulfill the requirements of Stage 2, eligible professionals must meet:

  • 17 core objectives
  • 3 menu objectives that you select from a total list of 6
  • Total of 20 objectives

And eligible hospitals and CAHs must meet:

  • 16 core objectives
  • 3 menu objectives that you select from a total list of 6
  • Total of 19 objectives

The numbers may look straightforward, but these objectives are not easy to meet. They range from recording demographic information to performing medical reconciliation to recording patient family history.

Yaraghi believes the program failed to recognize a “nuanced condition under which this magic wand works: organic and voluntary condition” (Tech Tank). He does not believe in mandating doctors and physicians to record things like smoking statuses and vital signs of all patients. It is this one-size all approach which is causing Stage 2 to be a failure.

While, the criticism with MU will continue, especially after Stage 3 is publically released, it does not deter Health IT and professionals like Yaraghi from configuring solutions. In this MU case, efficiency is the key to success and in the status quo the requirements are causing the process to become slower and (sometimes) painful. Yaraghi is not advocating for a breakup like that of Scott and Kourtney, but a reconfiguration…and maybe some marriage therapy sessions. Instead of mandating doctors and physicians as done previously, “meaningful use could have been allocated to fund a wide variety of different IT solutions suggested by medical providers” (Tech Tank). These “different IT solutions” include running a pilot program to test MU compliance, developing a research grant which can fund Health IT proposals, and creating a national lab to test MU stages.

Stage 2 is proof that there is a problem with the current Meaningful Use program and approving Stage 3 is a mistake. It might not be a Chapter 11 like it was for 50 Cent, but it could definitely be something along the lines of reestablishing the program itself. Yaraghi’s blog summarizes his concerns regarding Stage 2 of MU, the reasons it has become such an evident failure, and suggest how the incentive money from MU should really be spent.

Do you agree with his opinion about Stage 2 of MU and what are your expectations of Stage 3?

Author: Sahana Bhargava / Image source: Taxcredits.net