Meaningful Use is On the Ropes

We’re entering a really interesting and challenging time when it comes to meaningful use. We’ve often wrote about the inverse relationship between incentive and requirements that exists with meaningful use. As meaningful use stage 2 is now becoming a reality for many organizations and EHR vendors, the backlash against it is really starting to heat up.

If you don’t think this is the case, this slide from the HIT Policy Committee presentation says it a lot when it comes to organizations’ view of meaningful use stage 2.

Meaningful Use Stage 2 Attesatation - May 2014

For those that can’t believe what they’re reading, you’re reading it right. 4 hospitals have attested to meaningful use stage 2 and 50 providers as of May 1st. Certainly it’s still relatively early for meaningful use stage 2, but these numbers provide a stark contrast when you think about the early rush to get EHR incentive money during meaningful use stage 1.

This article by Healthcare IT News goes into many of the strains that were seen in the HIT Policy Committee. Sounded like the healthcare IT version of Real Housewives. However, the point they’re discussing are really important and people on both sides have some really strong opinions.

My favorite quote is this one in reply to the idea that we don’t need EHR certification at this point: “Deputy national coordinator Jacob Reider, MD, disagreed. Ongoing certification is required to give physicians and hospitals the security they need when purchasing products.”

Looks like he stole that line from CCHIT (see also this one). What security and assurance does EHR Certification provide the end user? The idea is just so terribly flawed. The only assurance and security someone feels buying a certified EHR is that they can get the EHR ID number off the ONC-CHPL when they apply for the EHR incentive money. The EHR certification can’t even certify EHR to a standard so that they can share health data. EHR Certification should go away.

I’m also a huge fan of the movement in that committee to simplify and strip out the complexity of meaningful use. I wish they’d strip it down to just interoperability. Then, the numbers above would change dramatically. Although, I’ve learned that the legislation won’t let them go that simple. For example, the legislation requires that they include quality measures.

No matter which way they go, I think meaningful use is in a tenuous situation. It’s indeed on the ropes. It hasn’t quite fallen to the mat yet, but it might soon if something dramatic doesn’t happen to simplify it.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, 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,, 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.


  • The following is my personal comments and do not nesicarilly reflect those of any other person or company.

    In looking back at the data of providers and hospitals that attested to stage 1 in 2011 by the end of April, we have a total of 66 (6 of which were hospitals.) This seems to be on par with what we are seeing so far this year. The numbers are a little lower this year (some may have dropped out, some may be finding it harder, some may be on the program that doesn’t force them to advance every year if they don’t attest.)

    I don’t know what these numbers mean, but claiming the program is crumbling from one set of numbers without the comparison to what they supposedly show a huge difference from, seems to be sensationalism at best and manipulation at worse.

    Now it may be that what is being claimed is valid and what is actually happening, I just wanted to point out that the numbers don’t by themselves say anything (it’s our interpertaition of them) and that the nmbers are not that far apart.

    Thanks for the posts, and the forum to have discussions about such things!

  • Healthcare IT product development involves a lot of Compliance and Security related component development to be able to deliver high quality patient care and move closer to respective incentives.

    Last year has been very eventful for the Healthcare IT industry, with the widespread adoption of HIPPA, Hitech regulations and the approaching deadlines for Healthcare organizations to switch to EHRs have definitely led to some systems being implemented in a chaotic manner without due importance given to meaningful use.
    we need a vendor who understands the Healthcare domain in and out and help healthcare organizations sail through these meanigful stages easily.

    Following up on this, I came across and registered for a webinar on HEALTHCARE IT: STRUCTURED ATTESTATION TO MEANINGFUL USE STAGE 2, it looks a promising one

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