Hospitals Still Say 'Meaningful Use' is Too Tough

Lora Bentley

As President Obama's 2015 deadline for everyone in the country to use electronic health records moves closer, doctors, hospitals and other organizations say the "meaningful use" requirements that must be met before they qualify to receive federal incentives for medical records systems under the HITECH Act are too complicated for even the large and technologically advanced among them. Moreover, the time frame within which they must be met is too short.


According to The New York Times, groups including The Mayo Clinic, Kaiser Permanente, Intermountain Healthcare and Partners HealthCare raised their concerns in meetings at the White House. Their voices were echoed in letters from nearly 300 federal legislators, the story says.


Partners HealthCare's Dr. Thomas Lee told Medicare officials:

We are very concerned about the requirement that hospitals and eligible professionals must meet each and every one of the objectives to demonstrate meaningful use and thereby qualify for incentive payments.

He called the government's expectations "unrealistic" and the timeline "unachievable."


Kaiser Permanente VP Anthony Barrueta indicated that his company, with all its years of experience around electronic records, could not meet all of the qualifications, and the same is true of Intermountain. The company's chief medical officer, Dr. Brent Harper, said:

At this date, Intermountain could not meet 36 of the 48 meaningful use requirements.

Though government officials say they are "on target" to meet the 2015 deadline with the current goals, the health care organizations would like to see a more relaxed approach where "incremental progress" is rewarded.

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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Jun 8, 2010 11:01 AM Carol Flagg Carol Flagg  says:

In response to your opening reference of Obama's 2015 deadline, it's important to note that since 2004, both Presidents Bush and Obama have initiated visions for the next generation's personal healthcare information. Backing the belief that accessible, portable and secure health information will reduce costs and save lives, both the current and former administrations instituted paths for physicians and hospitals to adopt electronic health record systems that will achieve these goals. 

Jun 9, 2010 8:27 AM John John  says:

This is utterly laughable.  Kaiser Permanente has already spent $6B on their obsolete medical record system and now says that meeting meaningful use criteria is just too difficult.  This means that Kaiser spent $500K per doctor on what is the ultimate boondoggle of a medical record system (these brainiacs have difficulty generating a clean invoice) and are now asking the government to loosen the standards. 

No way Kaiser.  You clowns spent $400M on marketing in 2009, much of it about how splendid your medical record system is... and in spite of gobs of evidence to the contrary. 

Jul 1, 2010 2:07 PM Vishal Vishal  says:

Great post andf the comments which have helped elaborate on this critical issue which I feel is doing to be important in defining the future of healthcare in our country.

On the point of usability and defining the term meaningful use', I would add further that the medical practitioners are looking to avail of this federal incentive by trying to comply with the definition of meaningful use but at the same time EHR providers are looking at their own set of profits.

This misunderstanding is mostly I believe as a result of wrong interpretation of the federal guidelines. The EHR providers need to look at these guidelines from the prospective of the practitioners who deal with different specialties.

Each specialty EHR has its own set of challenges or requirements which I believe is overlooked by im most EHR vendors in a effort to merely follows federal guidelines. This is resulting in low usability to the practitioners, thus less ROI, finally redundancy of the EHR solution in place.

I think ROI is very important factor that should be duly considered when look achieve a meaning use' out of a EHR solution. Though one may get vendors providing meaning use' at a lower cost, their ROI / savings through the use of their EHR might be pretty low when compared to costlier initial investment. Found a pretty useful ROI tool that is pretty customizable and easy to use. It also accounts for the different specialty EHR's too.

There are other good references on the topics of:

Usability/meaningful usehttp://www.waitingroomsolutions.com/wrs/arra-stimulus-money-44k-arra-emr-stimulus-bill-arra-ehr-stimulus-incentives'

Certification criteria for EHR:


Also the introduction of REC's through the HITECH act. is a great way to avail of quality EHR solutions at competitive prices. The stiff competition among not only these REC's but also among EHR vendors ( to become a preferred vendor of a given REC) will result in lot of positives to medical practioners.Looking the funding provided to the REC's, the staggered grant allocation system also promises to be an unbiased way of allocating funds. It will also help in the concept of REC's helping out each with their own unique business models. It can be one of the possible answers to the 'safe vendor challenge' as discussed by many critics.


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