Mostashari Comments on Meaningful Use, Health IT Challenges

Mostashari Addresses Concerns on Stage 2 Meaningful Use Timing

During a meeting of the Health IT Policy Committee on Wednesday, National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari discussed progress in the meaningful use program and challenges still facing health IT implementation, Clinical Innovation & Technology reports (Walsh, Clinical Innovation & Technology, 9/4).

Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health record systems can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.

Last month, Mostashari announced that he will resign in the fall after serving two years as the National Coordinator for Health IT (iHealthBeat, 8/6).

Mostashari’s Comments

During the meeting, Mostashari addressed concerns about the timeline for launching Stage 2 of the meaningful use program.

“If you’re in the more advanced half of hospitals or doctors and you were able to [meet Stage 1] earlier, you were able to get more of the money,” he said, adding, “That means that you also have to step up to Stage 2 in 2014 and Stage 3 in 2016.” Meanwhile, the “less ready half” would not need to “step up until 2015 for Stage 2 and 2017 for Stage 3,” Mostashari said.

He also said that more products likely will be certified under the 2014 criteria for meaningful use but that more consumer protections also will be included (Clinical Innovation & Technology, 9/4).

“I think the focus of meaningful use Stage 3 shifting to outcomes is the right one,” he said, adding, “But I also heard from these groups how many things they’re trying to work on simultaneously … And perhaps we know ourselves of some measures for which the burden of just reporting it maybe exceeds the benefit of the measure itself.”

Mostashari said the challenge now will be “getting to a common base of capabilities around the country, so that these providers … have some common assumption of what the capabilities of the systems will be around interoperability and patient health management and patient engagement” (Brino, Government Health IT, 9/4).

Mostashari Interview

In related news, MedScape interviewed Mostashari about his accomplishments at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT and the future of health IT.

During the interview, Mostashari said that his “dream” for health IT is “that with every [patient] encounter … you know everything about the patient” and that “[w]hatever you do generates and goes back to teaching everybody else what is going on in the community, what is going on in medicine, and contributes to this patient’s knowledge.”

He added, “We are far from there. But the first step is bringing the digital — the data — revolution to health care.”

He said that the “biggest barrier” to improving health care is “a belief that health care can’t change” (Topol, MedScape, 9/4).

Source: iHealthBeat, Thursday, September 5, 2013