Meaningful Use: too complex to be attractive?

My message for today is that the more complex any system becomes, the less likely it is that people will continue to participate in it.  Not that I don’t have the intelligence or technical capabilities to do it, but the question becomes simply, how do I want to spend my lunch hour?  My nights?  My weekends?  Last year I tested this hypothesis by trying to participate in PQRI, the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative, a sort of baby MU.  It clearly established to me that every extra step, mouse click, and check mark that I need to take on a daily basis to accomplish a governmental agency’s artificial and seemingly arbitrary rule set becomes at odds with my free time and thus my happiness.  Even though I collected and reported back data for PQRI to CMS throughout 2010, I won’t even learn if I will be reimbursed any incentive until, after a long data crunching process, at the end of 2011.  Who would want to participate in working for a paycheck that comes a year later?  I’ll be eagerly awaiting hearing from my colleagues about how MU incentives go since I’m out of Medicare as of July 1.

Dr. West is an endocrinologist in private practice in Washington, DC. He completed fellowship training in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. West opened The Washington Endocrine Clinic, PLLC, as a solo practice in 2009.  He can be reached at doctorwestindc@gmail.com.

About the author

Dr. Michael West

Dr. Michael West

Dr. West is an endocrinologist in private practice in Washington, DC. He completed fellowship training in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. West opened The Washington Endocrine Clinic, PLLC in 2009. He can be contacted at doctorwestindc@gmail.com.

6 Comments

  • Meaningful use is a little better at the turn around for knowing if you’ll be getting paid and getting paid than PQRI. At least it is for meaningful use stage 1. Future stages may be more like PQRI. We’ll see.

  • I’ll have to let you know, maybe do a followup post in December, on how much I actually got for PQRI participation. I hope I at least get something back, but I remain skeptical at this point.

  • Dr. West comments “that every extra step, mouse click, and check mark that I need to take on a daily basis to accomplish a governmental agency’s artificial and seemingly arbitrary rule set becomes at odds with my free time and thus my happiness. ”

    Quality programs are not concerned with the happiness with providers. The programs are stepping stones to improving the quality of care and the lives of patients.

  • Kel – Dr. West is being kind. Too often system planners, bureaucrats and developers ignore the daily demands of health care professionals time. Also, anything that detracts from a physician or nurse making decisions or providing care is a drag on productivity and drives up costs.

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