The Health IT Policy Committee's recent revised recommendations on "meaningful use" of electronic health records could be too daunting for health care providers to adopt by 2011, according to health IT experts, Medical Economics reports.
John Moore, managing partner of Chilmark Research, said, "The bar has been set too high, and the recommendations put forth will be virtually impossible to implement within the aggressive time schedule" of the federal economic stimulus package.
Under the stimulus package, hospitals and physicians who demonstrate meaningful use of EHRs will qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.
Moore suggested that officials should pay more attention to processes and workflows when issuing final rules on meaningful use (Lewis, Medical Economics, 7/24).
John Haughom -- senior vice president of clinical quality and patient safety at the PeaceHealth hospital system in Washington state -- also said certain providers could encounter difficulty in implementing EHR systems by the 2011 benchmark.
He said the current recommendations might "discourage organizations that aren't as far along" in implementing EHR systems. He said rural hospitals, small group practices and solo practitioners could be in that group.
To address these challenges, Haughom called for the Policy Committee to scale back the meaningful use objectives in three categories:
- CPOE: Haughom said officials should require health care providers to use computerized physician order entry systems for 5% of all orders of any type, down from the 10% requirement included in the revised recommendations.
- Electronic problem list: Haughom also said officials should provide sufficient time for hospitals to work out management issues before requiring physicians to maintain up-to-date lists of current and active diagnoses.
- PHRs: In addition, Haughom suggested that health care providers roll out patient portals before meeting a requirement to provide patients with electronic copies of their personal health records.
Hospitals and physicians both are pleased that the Policy Committee's recent recommendations allow health care providers to meet the meaningful use criteria on a shifted timeline depending on when they begin implementation, according to HealthLeaders Media.
Haughom said further flexibility and revisions to the meaningful use recommendations could help spur health IT adoption and ensure the success of the federal stimulus package (Vaughan, HealthLeaders Media, 7/21).