ROI in Meaningful Use

Was the JFK assassination the act of a lone gunman? Is Roswell, NM the crash site of an alien spaceship? Did D.B. Cooper survive his jump from a plane over the Cascades?  These are but a few famous questions we continue to debate.

Our own debate in the HIT industry is raging right now as we ponder this question:  Is there ROI in Meaningful Use?

Since the release of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and Interim Final Rules (IFR) at the end of last year much digital ink has been spilled over  whether meaningful use objectives can be met by providers and hospitals under the current certification timeline. In our daily trolling of MU news and blog post, we noticed a trend.

Those that say MU objectives hurdles are too high generally make the argument for little or no ROI because financial and workflow burdens are too onerous.

Those who see the objective hurdles as challenging but doable argue for ROI and tie it to increased efficiencies and market share for providers offering improved patient care and delivery of healthcare. We were curious to take the pulse of the folks in our LinkedIn community and poised this question of ROI and meaningful use to them.  Here were some of the responses:

“What I find most interesting is that even if there’s no ROI for meaningful use, there’s still an ROI to consider for an EMR implementation with or without meaningful use.”

“…the fact remains that the millions and millions of capital dollars hospitals and health systems will have to “invest” and also the substantial increase in recurring operating costs needed to achieve “meaningful use” will not be less than the “incentives” for achieving meaningful use. In other words, no “ROI.”  The penalties for not doing meaningful use are equally as great, however.  On a positive side, the integration of healthcare data is something that, when achieved, will provide some value.”

“Hospitals & healthcare providers are primarily meant to do just that- provide healthcare. MU aims to improve the quality of this care provided besides other end results. I see no reason why the 2 objectives can’t be simultaneously met. Yes- one may get marginal priority above the other considering the deadlines, but eventually the results will be there for all to see. I definitely see a ROI.”

“…MU is something that is needed regardless of whether there is an EHR or not and should be a separate deployment from EHRs. However, large and small healthcare entities are not setting themselves up to support a MU mentality – they are only deploying to get the incentive and to see ROI – which puts the burden on the application vendor, implementation staff, and the IT support staff rather than the physicians and practices to prove they help patients…MU should equal advancements in Patient Care and healthier patients without burdening the physicians workflow and staff just to make an incentive that is a wash in the end…“

The debate over the question of ROI for meaningful use is just beginning.  We will continue to update you  on various opinions and strategies related to this topic.  If interested, you can keep up to date on meaningful use in the news on our Meaningful Use page.  We update this page almost daily.  You can also join our Meaningful Use Answers group on LinkedIn.