Friday at Five – 7/16/10

Join us every Friday at Five for our weekly top 5 favorites in the world of HIT and HITECH. This week, all things being MU and the final rules, we collected five quotes from our contributing experts on the release of the final rules.

Wm. T. Oravecz, WTO Associates LLC
I think the approach ONC/CMS has taken with a “Core MU + 10-chose-5 MU” selection is a great way to start for Stage 1. I’m extremely impressed with how the ONC/CMS made the queries and responses available from the interim final rule and provided an alternative approach. I feel like now, we can really get down to business in helping providers make good implementation decisions with their EHR adoption initiatives without anything further hanging over our heads!

William Hersh, M.D., Professor and Chair,Department of Medical Informatics & Clinical Epidemiology, Oregon Health & Science University Medical School
These are truly historic times for health IT and clinical informatics. The revised rules are a reasonable compromise from the proposed rules and the need to make them achievable by a large number of eligible professionals and hospitals. One concern (speaking from involvement!) concerns the infrastructure side of HITECH, which is unfortunately funded by stimulus money and therefore needing to be short-term. Can the regional extension centers ramp up in time? Will the training programs likewise be ready in time? (Some programs like mine will because we have already been doing this sort of thing!) The success of the entire HITECH enterprise depends on numerous things occurring successfully in parallel when it might have made more sense, if we had more time, to do them serially.

Jim Tate, Founder and President EMR Advocate, LLC
The release of the Final Rule on Meaningful Use should elicit a sigh of relief from hospitals, eligible providers and vendors. The criteria has been relaxed and made more flexible. Now HIT stakeholders are free to move forward on the True Mission: the adoption of electronic technology to improve healthcare. After all, isn’t that what all this was supposed to be about? My hat is off to the ONC.

William O’Toole, founder O’Toole Law Group
As expected, the final rule made accommodations to the requirements for meaningful use. I believe the reductions in criteria, by percentage or other means, is a far better idea than delaying the deadlines for the original criteria by years (although some criteria were dropped from Stage 1). The whole idea is to stimulate the adoption of meaningful use, and sooner rather than later. Lowering the initial requirements to a more attainable level was smart. It will help maintain focus in the near term, rather than build in an undesirable “time out” period.

Dr. Nick van Terheyden, Chief Medical Officer, Nuance
Expanding the choices and reducing the burden makes the move towards meaningful use more achievable by a larger proportion of the already time pressured clinicians. Even though there has been some practical relaxation of the standards the overall drive remains in place and there is a clear push towards the inevitable digitization of clinical care and the improvement in quality of care based on meaningful implementation of electronic medical records.