Heard in the HIMSS Hallway – Government Wants All EHR Software Easily Certified and Doctors Showing Meaningful Use

Today, the most interesting thing I heard in the hallway of HIMSS was about ONC and the government’s perspective on the current EHR certification and meaningful use stage 1.

Someone I spoke told me that ONC is vry focused on getting all EHR software certified. It won’t quite be a basic rubber stamp, but ONC-ATCB’s are to work with the EHR vendors to help as many EHR vendors be certified as possible.

Similar to that, ONC wants doctors to easily be able to show meaningful use stage 1. Then, they’ll tighten down on future stages.

On face, this might not seem like a big deal. No doubt, ONC wants as many certified EHR vendors and doctors that are meaningful users as possible.

However, I find it interesting to think that they’re deliberately trying to get as many people as possible meaningfully using a certified EHR even if those users and EHR vendors aren’t likely to be able to comply with future more stringent requirements.

Will this mean we’ll have a whole wave of EHR users having to switch EHR software once the more stringent standards are implemented? Or will doctors just take the meaningful use stage 1 EHR incentive money and then not worry about the rest of the government handout?

I’m not sure the outcome, but it’s definitely something worth thinking about.

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.


  • Certification will only escalate costs! Further software certification doesn”t guarantees demonstration of meaningful use. It’s about practice or rather best-practices, and requires educating users on not just the adoption but also on how to leverage technology. Certification can though guarantee availability of a feature / functionality set but meaningful-use has to be derived. imho

  • John,

    From my quick read of the preliminary Stage 2 requirements, most of it is an incremental improvement over stage 1. That is, where stage 1 asked for 30% of patients encounters show CPOE use, then stage 2 makes it 60%. Then it adds one lab or radiology order. The rest pretty much follow this approach.

    Even where there is a new requirement such as more than 30% of visits have at least one EP note, the requirements aren’t a major jump from stage 1.

    It’s possible that some EMRs might not be able to make the cut, but given the lead time until stage 2 becomes final much less becomes active, an EMR company that can’t cut it will have a lot of explaining to do and would be ripe for takeover.

  • Carl,
    What you describe is what I heard was being “lobbied” for by a number of the big EMR vendors that I talked with at HIMSS. I think that will generally be the result for meaningful use stage 2.

    I agree that it will be an issue if these EMR vendors don’t make stage 2, although I’ve heard people very familiar with the variety of EMR vendors out there and they say there will be a group that won’t be able to make it.

  • […] Looking back at all the discussions I had last week with those attending HIMSS, I’m really happy to say that EHR certification was almost never a discussion. Pretty much everyone either was a certified EHR or was almost done with the EHR certification process (which is in line with ONC’s desire that all EHR software be certified). […]

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