Meaningful Use Gets More Complex

I posted previously a short summary of the changes to meaningful use in the final meaningful use matrix presented at the HIT policy committee meeting. As I’ve thought about these changes this weekend, I couldn’t help but remember the major problem I (and many others) had with the original meaningful use criteria being too complex.

My argument then was that the 22 meaningful use criteria as a collective whole were too much for a doctor’s office to complete in the current time frame. Unfortunately, it seems that the HIT policy committee has chosen to only make slight simplifications of the meaningful use matrix for hospitals (For inpatient CPOE, only 10% of orders must be entered electronically) and has actually added to the EMR requirements for ambulatory clinics.

I do think they’ve made a wise choice on marginalizing CCHIT for the “certified EHR” requirement, but I wonder how many doctors are going to be able to meet this lengthy laundry list of EMR requirements to show meaningful use. You should have seen the faces on the doctors I presented to as I briefly listed the meaningful use requirements. Far too many deer in headlights and people shaking their heads.

Of course, the government has one thing on their side. Many won’t look into the details of what’s required to show meaningful use and will implement an EMR not having a full knowledge of what will be required of them to actually get the EHR stimulus payments. Maybe EHR adoption will increase thanks to the stimulus money and very little of the money will actually be spent.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • John,

    You are exactly right–the deer in the headlights look is what we regularly see. 99% of our sales cycle is spent educating doctors on what is available in the market and what constitutes a “qualified EMR” and what will constitute “meaningful use.” For the most part, physicians haven’t spent much time looking at these matrices or even thinking about how to get started.

    Spreading the word on this stuff is as difficult as implementing an EMR and it seems that even with the right software, practices will have just as tough a time proving “meaningful use”.


  • One doctor gave this greedy grin and said amongst clenched teeth, “Tell me how to get all that government money.” I just smiled since so many people are looking at the pile of money and forgetting everything else.

  • “Meaningful Use” is great!

    The definition and regs will evolve toward complexity. So companies called “MU Certifiers” will manage MU certification. HHS will contract with MUCs to certify doctors, who will pay a fee to MUCs to insulate them from the regulatory complexity and complete all required forms.

    After the MUCs relay certifications to HHS, doctors will get their ARRA money.

    Problem solved.

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