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AAFP: Delay Meaningful Use Stage 3

January 16, 2013
by Gabriel Perna
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The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) is calling on the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), to delay implementation of meaningful use Stage 3 until 2017, the association said in a comment letter to ONC National Coordinator Farzad Mostashari, M.D.

The letter is in response to the release of the Health IT Policy Committee’s proposal for Stage 3 of meaningful use under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act/Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. According to the AAFP’s Board Chair, Glen Stream, M.D., of Spokane, Wash., HHS is going too fast.

"We remain concerned that HHS is attempting to raise the bar for what constitutes meaningful use before the majority of physicians and hospitals are able to achieve the meaningful use stage one or two objectives," Stream said in the letter. He said ONC should carry over its decision to delay Stage 2 of meaningful use to Stage 3.

Stream says HHS should "focus on the hard problems that require coordination" instead of focusing on issues such as computerized provider order entry systems (CPOE), demographics, lab results, and counting and verifying electronic prescriptions.

In addition, Stream said physicians should be encouraged to use high-functioning EHR systems at full capacity, which would limit the requirements for tedious manual record keeping. He also prefers measures that “have broad, clinically proven impact, leaving experimentation to other programs.”

Interestingly, AAFP does not support future stages of meaningful use after Stage 3, saying “sustainable payment models should be used by HHS to drive care delivery reform, not prolongation of the artificial models of meaningful use."

These comments come to light a couple of days after theCollege of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) and the  American Medical Association (AMA) had similar concerns about the speed in which the meaningful use program was moving ahead.

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