In this edition of the Healthcare Informatics podcast, Senior Editor, Gabriel Perna speaks with Jason Fortin, senior advisor with Impact Advisors, on the drama surrounding the controversial meaningful use program. Specifically, how does the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology's (ONC) proposed rule on a more flexible Stage 2 meaningful use reporting affect providers? Negatively, predicts Fortin.
“Even those who might be able to take advantage – with the caveat that this is still a proposed rule – you can make the argument that it can have negative implications. If an EP [eligible provider] has to spend any time reconfiguring reports and reverting back to old workflows, just to meet previous requirements using old software, that’s time they could be spending preparing for 2015 where the new software will be required,” Fortin says.
Fortin and Perna also take at the growing sentiment that the government should pause the meaningful use program and restart it. Instead, Fortin says the government should focus on making future requirements “less prescriptive” and giving vendors more time to make changes.
In terms of what else the government can do in 2014? Fortin isn’t sure how they can avoid an embarrassingly low rate of Stage 2 attestation, as John Halamka, M.D., the CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston, recently predicted at an the Institute for Health Technology Transformation, or iHT2, event in Boston.
“It’s so late in the reporting period, I’m not sure what they could do. They could extend flexibility into 2015 because I think there is an opportunity to do something there,” Fortin says.
For providers and provider organizations, Fortin advises sticking to current meaningful use plans. “Look at the flexibility as a backup plan because it’s still a proposed rule and we don’t know what it’s in the final rule for a couple of months,” he says.