Recovery Room 6/23/10

About nine weeks ago the comment period ended for the temporary program within the ONC NPRM on establishment of an EHR Certification Program. On Friday the 18th the Interim Final Rule (IFR) was released. At their press conference, ONC’s Blumenthal opened and stated that this is a pivotal step to create the environment to foster EHR and meaningful use. The rules which will be officially published in the federal register on the 24th are available in a non final format until then. While this IFR comes from the ONC’s previous Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) it only covers the Temporary Certification program. The IFR for the permanent program is expected by the end of the year.

CMS launches its web pages on EHR Incentive Programs under their Regulations and Guidance section. You can find a wealth of information on all things HITECH. From frequently asked questions, downloads, related links, and specific defining information, if you have the time to read and browse they have the information.

The Fifth Annual National Health IT Week, supported by 170 organizations and sponsored by HIMSS, was held June 14-18 in Washington, DC. The HIMSS press briefing on Tuesday revealed industry leaders were positive on the HIT advancement over the past year. The event also showcased the lobbying power of HIMSS. They were in force with their three point agenda.

Will the health insurance industry be looking more carefully at the advantage they can take with providers meaningfully using health IT? Computer Sciences Corporation, better known as CSC thinks they really don’t have a choice. “There is a strong argument to be made that the success of long term healthcare reform and the promotion and meaningful use of HIT are linked together. Artificially separating the issues is a luxury that health plans and payers cannot afford.” Read their white paper, Meaningful Use for Health Plans: Five things to consider.

On the Vendor front we are starting to see some positioning. The Chicago based Allscripts-Misys Healthcare Solutions will take over Eclipsys for $1.3 billion in stock. The Allscripts ambulatory systems and the Eclipsys inpatient systems will create a powerful wind at their backs. The Business Wire reported on Monday that the merger is being investigated as “unfair”. Stay tuned. Practice Fusion and Dell (you remember them, they bought out Perot Systems last year) joined forces to bundle Practice Fusion’s free EHR on Dell computers to the small practice markets.

Have a good week.