EMR Stimulus Question and Answer

Question: My EMR claims to have all of the capabilities they will need to demonstrate meaningful use and qualify for ARRA incentives. Does that mean I will get the EMR stimulus money?

First of all, you might want to consider another EMR vendor. If they are saying this, then they are trying to mislead you and make more sales. No EMR vendor can claim that they have “all of the capabilities” for you to show meaningful use and qualify for the EMR stimulus money.

Why can I say this? Because the details for Meaningful Use are still not final. We don’t know what you’re going to have to do to show meaningful use and so how can an EMR vendor claim to have all of the capabilities? Short answer is that they can’t. So, go and read their press release again and see if they’re just telling lies or if there was a disclaimer of some sort (ie. according to the interim final rule).

On to the other point of you getting EMR stimulus money. Certainly your EMR will have to be a certified EHR (that’s still not defined either). Your EMR will also have to have the capabilities to show meaningful use. However, at the end of the day, YOU’re the one that’s going to have to see patients and Use the EMR in a way that all of the meaningful use criteria are met. If you do this to the satisfaction of CMS, then you’ll get the stimulus money.

Certainly you can’t meet meaningful use without the EMR vendor. However, the EMR vendor alone can’t qualify you for meaningful use either. It takes 2 to tango. Just remember that it’s much easier to tango when you have a great partner. A lousy partner makes it no fun for anyone.

Check out previous EMR stimulus Questions and Answers.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, 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, EXPO.health, 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.


  • Well said. This is all just a big mess. I fear the stimulus money will cause Doctors to choose a product because of the belief they will get $44,000 rather than because they want a product that will produce an ROI well beyond $44,000. Any EMR with name recognition is going to end up achieving meaningful use more than likely. The more important question is how meaningful is the emr after the $44,000? I could go on and on… I will stop for the weekend 🙂

  • Good point. I believe that almost all EMR vendors will achieve meaningful use and certified EHR. It will be hard for an EMR vendor to stay in business if they don’t. A few exceptions in some specialty EMRs maybe, but most will get it.

  • Hi John
    I could not have answered this better; you are right. It takes two to tango; a good partner is not only the one with good skill sets but also one who can feel the other’s moves, understands the requirements, makes necessary adjustments and stays to the end.

    With the final MU requirements not officially announced, its inappropriate to claim that a EHR meets all MU requirements. Having said that, EHR companies that plan to stay in business for the long run will meet the MU requirements. Then its the Physician and the clinics that need to embrace EHR for the right reasons.

    This is a thought out post and I do plan to send this out to our clients, prospects and all connected to Health IT.


  • Great question and a spot on answer from John. While EMRs can legitimately issue guarantees about becoming certified for Meaningful Use, no vendor can ever guarantee (although several have) that an individual provider will qualify for the incentives. An EMR vendor can’t force a doctor to e-prescribe or order labs – it can only provide the certified tools needed for those tasks. You can’t guarantee what you can’t control.

    Practice Fusion issued a HHS certification guarantee last year and we continue to develop against the Interim Final Rules for EMR system certification (which aren’t likely to change) and track the progress of the Meaningful Use rules for providers (which may change dramatically).

    Dr. Laffel’s HITECH YouTube video is a good source for more answers around certification guarantees.

    Emily Peters
    Practice Fusion EMR

Click here to post a comment