Another HIMSS is behind us, but Healthcare IT will never be the same. 2010 will be the start of truly revolutionary progress in Healthcare IT brought on by ARRA/HITECH. Many gave their opinions and some have even provided really interesting suggestions for changes to the rules as you will find in this letter from CHIME to CMS. With the comment period closing shortly on CMS’s meaningful use Notice Proposed Rule Making, I am not sure how much or how little the rules will be modified. What I am sure is that anyone that intends on pursuing Meaningful Use (MU) better get started in earnest right away. In order to succeed, vendors and health systems will be required to allocate every resource to attaining MU or certification. My biggest concern is for the small hospital systems and community hospitals that are not well funded and have not historically invested adequately on IT. Some will fail. If you are an executive at one of these entities, I hope you will contact me as my team at Santa Rosa is focused on helping all of you in this market segment achieve MU.
Here are my key take aways from HIMSS 2010:
- The latest on ARRA/HITECH – The rules and requirements may get modified, but ARRA is not going away.
- Vendor Neutral (Imaging) Archives – My opinion is that CMS has not been specific or comprehensive enough about the imaging requirements for ARRA. Nonetheless, it will be very hard for health systems to integrate 5-10 imaging archives (radiology, cardiology, oncology, pathology, etc) into their EMR systems. Some of these images are still being stored on MODs! I will be working with my clients to plan for and install Vendor Neutral Archives to minimize the points of image integration with their EMRs.
- Meditech’s competition in the small hospital EMR/CPOE space – This space has gotten VERY crowded. There are 3 pages of EMR vendors in the HIMSS handbook. Many of these companies did not exist or did not make an EMR until very recently. My advice is buyer beware. Go with a vendor with a proven product that has been installed at many sites for several years.
Finally, as the career coaching blogger for HealthcareITToday I am ECSTATIC about the career opportunities in Healthcare IT. By now, you have probably read the reports that ARRA will create the need for 50,000 more Healthcare IT employees. This will present OUTSTANDING career opportunities for all of us that are currently working in Healthcare IT. I strongly encourage you to look far beyond just attaining meaningful use. Don’t forget to improve patient safety and healthcare quality as you help to install EMR and CPOE systems! Don’t forget to make smart technical decisions like deploying VNAs to help reduce operational costs. And put your seatbelt on and enjoy the ride!