One EMR Vendor’s View of Meaningful Use

I’m always interested in the reactions of EMR vendors to various news. Granted, much of it is very predictable. They obviously want to sell more EMR software and so their reaction is usually a positive one when we’re talking about billions of dollars of stimulus money.

This is why I was so interested in hearing Evan Steele, CEO of SRSsoft’s response to the final meaningful use rule. Evan has been a strong proponent of maintaining the productivity of the practice and no doubt government regulations like meaningful use can stand in the way of that goal. The following is Evan’s response to the meaningful use final rule:

While the final rule on meaningful use contained some changes from the proposed rule, these modifications are only deferrals, not permanent changes. Everything that was taken out of the proposed rule will be added back in, according to Farzad Mostashari, and the flexibility granted for Stage 1 will be removed in Stage 2, just two short years away. The bottom line for physicians has not changed:

  • Compliance with meaningful use will result in a significant decrease in productivity because the demands on physicians are still onerous and because it requires use of an EMR that is data-driven (traditional, point-and-click EMR) rather than workflow/productivity-driven (like the SRS hybrid EMR).
  • The meaningful use measures are still not particularly relevant to specialists, as HIT Policy Committee member Gayle Harrell pointed out during the recent committee meeting.
  • Participation in the government program is voluntary, as David Blumenthal made clear during the press conference announcing the release of the final rule. Physicians can choose to follow the compliance path or they can elect to pursue the productivity path.

SRS remains committed to physician and practice productivity and will continue to focus our development resources on our flagship product—the unique, productivity-enhancing hybrid EMR. Most high-performance specialists recognize that the cost of complying with meaningful use far outweighs any incentives that might possibly be earned or any penalties that might be imposed.

As you referenced in a recent post, SRS has entered into an alliance that will ensure that physicians have all the options they need. With SRS, they can reap the significant benefits of the productivity path, with the assurance that if at some point in the future they decide to pursue meaningful use, they will be able to do so as clients of SRS.

Looks like Evan is still preaching the EMR productivity message, but there’s a small sliver of hope for meaningful use with SRSsoft. I’m pretty sure every EMR salesperson is going to be so tired of hearing about meaningful use that Every EMR vendor will need a solid meaningful use strategy. Meaningful Use is here to stay. At least until the EMR stimulus money runs out.

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.

4 Comments

  • What if Meaningful Use turns out to be no more relevant to EHR than agriculture is to bull fighting? Even worse, what if meeting Meaningful Use (MU) damages a provider’s business?

    There is a world of difference between EHR and Meaningful Use. It is a square and rectangle proposition. All instances of MU require an EHR. However, all EHRs do not require MU.

    When I evaluate changing a business strategy, I like to do so under the following test:
    • Is it necessary?
    • Is it sufficient?
    For the strategy to be beneficial to an organization it must be both necessary and sufficient.

    Let us begin with whether MU is necessary. Necessary for what—to make the provider’s caring for its patients better; to make their business better. MU does neither. Implementing an EHR, though it is optional, is important. So is meeting MU. The last time I checked, there were no long queues in Madison to grab an EHR, and no people camping outside of the CMS offices to be first in line for the ARRA money. MU does not pass the test of necessity.

    Does MU pass the test of sufficiency? Is it adequate? Again, for what? The way to answer this question is to ask, “How would your organization implement EHR if MU did not exist”? your answer to this question defines what is necessary.

    Much of MU has to do with how EHR is implemented and adopted. For all the attention vendors are paying to MU, it is a bit nonsensical. Most of the onus on MU is tied to the provider. The most the vendor can offer is that they will not do anything to encumber a provider’s chances of meeting MU. Many of these vendors are the ones who will require you to implement an upgraded version of their product in order to meet certification.

    In closing, will the MU money run out? On the contrary, I think they will not be able to give it away.

  • Paul… that is the most superlative distillation of the issues surrounding EHR adoption and MU I have read. Large and small HCOs and practices need to post it in the front of their EHR project book and get everyone involved in the decisions to initial it off.

  • Fortunately for physicians and the future of healthcare, there must no longer be a choice between Document Management Systems (a la SRS) and the Data Driven EHR (a la traditional “point and click” ). When these systems were developed in the 90’s, one had to choose either / or.

    However, modern technology is powerful enough in the post-internet age to drive both so a physician can quickly convert paper to digital, maintain the look and feel of the chart for productivity sake, while graduating into data capture for those elements required by the government at their own pace or election.

    Start with converting the paper practice to digital replicas – it’s where the ROI is. But if you stop there, you’ll find yourself purchasing another system (mentioned by SRS author Evan Steel) in the near future to augment or replace it.

    simplifyMD.com, and workflow.com are two companies that quickly come to mind as bridging the path forward. (being strong medical grade document management AND stimulus eligible EHR) Their modern software platforms, which feature modern built-in security necessary in the internet-age, require only a web connected computer to log in, and place a much smaller financial and technical burden on your practice.

    Choose wisely so you don’t have to choose again. 🙂

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