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AHA urges agencies to speed up EMR choice expansion

In a move that shouldn’t surprise anybody, the American Hospital Association is urging CMS and the ONC to hurry up and finalize new rules which would expand choice for certified EMRs.

The AHA letter argues that its members are on the verge of walking away from Meaningful Use. But if CMS and the ONC speed ahead with with the new proposed rules — which would offer more choice in specific meaningful use requirements they must meet this year — hospitals will be much better equipped to proceed.

Why the rush? Well, for one thing, the letter argues, time is of the essence for hospitals, which have to decide their meaningful use strategy for fiscal 2014. If they must make choices before the new rule is finalized, it could cause them “significant financial and operational harm,” the AHA contends.

Meanwhile, if the agencies don’t push these rules through quickly, “many providers are likely to conclude that they cannot meet meaningful use this year and abandon the program,” wrote Linda Fishman, AHA senior vice president of public policy analysis and development, in a letter to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner and National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD.

The letter also takes on other issues. It asks that CMS and ONC clarify the rules implementation, offer more flexibility in the reporting of clinical quality measures, shorten the MU reporting period for 2015 in analyze lessons learned from Stage 2 before finalizing Stage 3′s start date, according to HealthcareITNews.

The AHA’s letter comes at a challenging time for the meaningful use program generally, which has of late attracted broader attention than it has in the past.

Not only are industry groups pressuring ONC, legislators are too. For example, at a recent health IT conference, U.S. Rep Tom Price, MD, R-GA, argued that meaningful use is “maybe not even doing what needs to be done as it relates to patients and physicians.”

In his remarks, Price argued that meaningful use could be improved by keeping the patient front and center, making sure patients know they own their health data and establishing an interoperability standard.  But he suggests that because the MU program roadmap was laid out in the HITECH Act, it’s not as fluid as it should be and doesn’t accommodate such concerns.

The reality, however, is that there is no simple way to get interoperability; right now, we’re lucky if individual EMRs meet providers’ needs.  Despite the demands from other stakeholders, health IT vendors still have a lot more to gain by creating islands rather than interoperable products.

June 23, 2014 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies.

HIMSS: Hospitals Achieving Meaningful Use Milestones

Hospitals are making good progress toward achieving Meaningful Use milestones, a new study by HIMSS suggests.

HIMSS, which surveyed 298 healthcare CIOs between December and February, found that 66 percent had already qualified for Meaningful Use stage 1, while another 4 percent expected to do so before the end of 2012, Information Week reports.

Meanwhile, 75 percent of respondents said they expect to attest for stage 2 in 2014, which  as readers probably know is the first year of stage two attestations.

Given the ambitions noted by the CIOs, it’s not surprising to learn that 66 percent of them said they thought their budgets would definitely or probably increase this year.  Of the remainder, 15 percent said their budgets would remain level, and 8 percent expected to see a decrease.

Last year, achieving Meaningful Use was the hospital CIOs’ top business objective, named by 24 percent of respondents, but this year, it fell to 15 percent. This year, the top health IT business objective has switched over to survival, with 21 percent saying their key goal was to sustain the financial viability of their organizations.  This was followed closely by improving patient care, which came in at 19 percent.

Still, Meaningful  Use will obviously stay top of mind for the CIOs, who may be better prepared than last year but still have much to handle.

After all, they expect to make serious money on achieving MU goals, HIMSS concluded. The survey found that about 30 percent of hospital CIOs expected an ROI of up to $2 million on stage 1, another 23 percent a return of $2 million to $3 million, and 16 percent expected ROI of $4 million to $5 million.

March 6, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies.

Attending CHIME 2012 Fall CIO Forum

Today I arrived at the 2012 Fall CIO Forum for CHIME. I’ve wanted to go to this event for quite a while. My fellow blogger, Neil Versel, had often told me about how great the event was and so I wanted to see it first hand.

Tonight I heard an almost emotional Farzad Mostashari speak and then got to mingle with all of the CIO’s at the evening event. A few things I’ve already noticed that I found interesting.

First, Farzad has really refined his pitch for healthcare IT. He makes a really compelling case for what’s possible and a really common sense analysis of why we need to start using healthcare IT now. If I were to put a title on Farzad’s talk at CHIME, I’d call it, “Stop with the Excuses, We Can Do Better.”

Everything at the event is high class. You can tell that no expense was spared to make sure that the major healthcare IT contributors are treated well.

I wasn’t that surprised, but it’s unfortunate that I was by far the youngest person at the conference (at least from what I saw). One wife of a CIO I talked with asked why there weren’t more young people present. Then she said, “Don’t these hospital CIOs want to groom the next generation of leaders? Why are they holding on so tightly and not preparing for the future.” It’s a good question I wasn’t really sure how to answer.

There are a lot of really powerful people at the event. It was fun to see Judy Faulkner mingling with people. I saw John Glaser. In many ways, it’s a Who’s Who of hospital health IT.

While there are many Hospital CIOs at the event, there are also a lot of vendor representatives. Not surprising considering the amount of budget these hospital CIOs control.

I was amazed at how many people were “old friends.” You could see that many of those attending have been doing so for years and this was their annual visit with colleagues. As a first time attendee, you’d think that I might not feel very welcome, but the opposite was the case. All of the hospital CIOs I met were very friendly, kind and happy to engage.

More on the event tomorrow. If you’re in Palm Springs at the event, I’d love to talk with you. Just leave a comment below or send me a tweet.

October 17, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Epic Closing Act

Anne already posted a nice summary of the things coming out of the Epic UGM 2012 including a really great opening tribute video using Journey and a Wayne’s World kicker. Just to round that out, the closing act wasn’t nearly as big, but is still worth a watch. Plus, it features Carl Dvorak, COO of Epic, on the guitar. I think you’ll enjoy “One Upon a Go Live” embedded below.

September 27, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.