Predicting HHS Meaningful Use Guidelines

UPDATE: I just learned that ONC is doing a call today which is likely to discuss meaningful use. The call is at 5:15 EST. You’ll have to search the HHS site for the call in info since I can’t copy and paste on this phone. Looks like we’ll be finding out if my assumptions below are correct or not.

UPDATE 2: Check out some initial thoughts on meaningful use and watch for more analysis about the ARRA EMR stimulus money here.

The wait is nearly over for those of us wanting more details from HHS on the term meaningful use. In fact, I hope the criteria hasn’t come out already since I’m on vacation without internet (except my phone). While we wait I think it’s worth considering what we can expect from HHS.

If all goes well, then we’re likely going to get a nice set of simply designed criteria that effectrively measure meaningful use. However, they’ll be simple enough to implement that EHR adoption increases substantially over the next few years. HHS will have taken into account all the different specialties and also provide all the details for reporting and showing meaningful use according to their criteria.

Does this sound like a pipe dream? Well it is.

Instead of the above, I think we can expect a number of vague requirements that HHS will have to clarify over time. They won’t have addressed issues with specialists much at all. We’ll probably have little details on how HHS will check the criteria. I also think that HHS will make little clarification between hospital and ambulatory EMR despite their being huge differences.

This pessimistic view might make us wonder why we’re all waiting for this criteria. Well, it’s all apart of the government process. It’s the price to pay for 20 billion dollars in stimulus money. It’s government work. You can’t be impatient when you’re talking about government work.

The good news is that the release of the meaningful use criteria will be one MAJOR step closer to the details we need. It won’t be clean and pretty like we want, but it will be progress towards the end goal.

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.