HIMSS group criticizes 2015 meaningful use proposal

After the delay of ICD-10, it seemed as if the health care industry had finally agreed on the usefulness of certain technologies in medical environments. Provider groups that had opposed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology joined voices to hope the bill would fail at the eleventh hour, but to no avail.

Now, it seems as if private health care groups and federal agencies are back at debating policies. When the ONC released its proposal for the 2015 edition of meaningful use and attendant policies, the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society Electronic Health Records Association penned an open letter to the agency that criticized the intended approach to EHR systems.

Scrutinizing the future
As the industry continues to gather the necessary resources for complete adoption of EHR systems, the ONC published its proposal for the form and guidelines that meaningful use programs in 2015 would take. These guidelines included a new, shorter timeline that would include a yet-to-be-determined number of criteria.

However, the HIMSS EHR group, which represents more than 40 health care organizations, wrote the letter that poked holes through the newest proposal. The letter, which was addressed to ONC National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo, specifically pointed out downfalls to the compressed timeline of requirements.

The letter indicates that these changes will strain the already exhausted industry of tech staff members past the point of sustainability. With overworked employees, organizations are sure to experience some disruptions to workflow processes due to fatigue and errors. The ONC proposed that new updates to meaningful use rules be issued every 12 to 18 months – more frequently than the current rate, which the HIMSS EHR group claimed would cause organizations to spend too much money on projects that would be over too quickly for any significant result to their practices.

The letter concluded with the HIMSS EHR group calling for a more incremental approach to meaningful use requirements by the ONC or any other federal organization, with recommendations extending into the 2017 policy cycle.

The authors hoped that this letter would prove effective enough to prompt the ONC to review some of its proposed policies. With ICD-10 still up in the air and millions of resources in flux, organizations must be ready to fight for favorable terms in policies.