At first glance at an optical illusion, a distinct picture is clear. However, after taking a few moments to adjust eye depth and perception, other perspectives emerge. Following a distinct moment of change, the viewer is able to understand and appreciate the significance of the artwork on an entirely new level.
Meaningful Use and HITECH are by no means “illusions” and, in fact, provide an extensive listing and explanation of requirements. Nonetheless, the act of studying Meaningful Use does share a few similarities to the act of studying an optical illusion. It will take you a few minutes (and likely more) to understand what is being said, and a few more to understand the true implications.
While studying an optical illusion, if you only accept the initial perspective, you will miss out on the entirety of the picture. Therefore, when studying the Meaningful Use requirements, it is important to understand the entirety of the Act by recognizing different perspectives.
The following are two perspectives on the feasibility of EHR implementation as outlined under the Meaningful Use requirements:
View 1: EHR implementation is NOT feasible
Meaningful Use. Unfortunately, there is a lack of feasibility. The intent and purported impact of EMR/EHR adoption sounds great in theory. In practice, however, there are two barriers that may prove insurmountable to the well-intentioned requirements.
EMR bonus program poses tight deadline for physicians by Chris Silva of American Medical News:
“There is no EMR system on the market now that offers the capabilities needed for physicians to become meaningful users. Federal officials expect such systems to become available this fall, which would give practices only a few months to install and test the technology before the Jan. 1, 2011, start date of the incentive program. Physicians who already have invested in EMRs now must upgrade their systems to meet certification criteria.”
X% of orders are completed electronically in order to receive incentive money may be a legitimate “carrot”, but if it is the patient who gets the “stick”, is that a risk worth taking?
CMIOs give Meaningful Use mixed reviews that,
“If only a minority of hospitals achieve Meaningful Use based on Stage 1 criteria in 2011, the federal government will end up basing its Stage 2 definition next year on limited data.” If that happens, monetary incentives will still provide motivation, but will the original intent and goals of Meaningful Use be recognizable?”
View 2: EHR implementation IS feasible
certifying bodies have been named, and they are planning accordingly to begin work as soon as possible. The process for certifying EHRs and encouraging technological interoperability in hospitals has been given a significant amount of thought and discussion by healthcare leaders and government officials.
project methodologies exist to facilitate timely and effective implementation of health IT initiatives.
The CT Mirror discussed the reasoning behind some physicians’ resistance to electronic record-keeping, and attributed much of the physicians’ hesitation to skepticism on financial benefit and the reality of Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements.
The CT Mirror article, monetary government savings estimates ranged from $80 billion dollars to as much as $100 billion a year. Without much consultation, one could conclude that amount significant.
Why Health IT Usability Matters to Patients
Only 2% of Hospitals are Ready for Meaningful Use
Health IT Requirements that Few Doctors and Hospitals Can Meet