What are the Odds?

The final rules for meaningful use and the CMS incentive programs will be released shortly. So what are the odds that we will see any changes in the meaningful use objectives? There is still chatter out there that we will see relaxing of the objectives. I am placing my bet on little to no change.

I am continually intrigued to read articles and blogs that quote and agree with someone from HIMSS, the latest CIO to follow on twitter, a CEO of a leading EHR company, a physician still trying to figure out how to use his cell phone, a HIT journalist with an agenda, or even the first ONC Dr. Brailer. No offence to the former Dr. B but I think we should be taking our cues from the current Dr. B. A couple of weeks ago Dr. Blumenthal posted “Adoption of Health IT” to his blog. I read between the lines of his post the reason we should not be surprised when we see the final rule. He ends by saying; “This is the time to realize the promise of health IT. Information technology has improved every aspect of our lives, we need to channel information technology to improve our health and care.” Does this sound like we are about to have a vacation on the beach or someone calling to our better selves to “do the right thing”?

While I think his blog post is telling I think he has been saying this all along. Back in April Blumenthal sat down with Healthcare Informatics for an interview where he talks about the balancing act involved in establishing a final ruling on meaningful use. Here is a question and answer that I believe speaks to the point.

HCI: So what do you say to physician groups that are concerned that if many physicians try to achieve meaningful use and fail, they will become discouraged and implementation rates will fall?

Blumenthal: That may be true for some. I take a longer-term view. My view is that electronic collection, storage, management and use of information is an inevitability in the 21st century, and that the federal government is trying to speed up the inevitable. This is a fairly calculated investment by the Congress not in adoption, but in a level of use that brings benefit. We shouldn’t spend the taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars for results that don’t meet the Congress’ standard, and that standard is meaningful use.

So I think the train has left the station and they will pay you to get on but they are not going to slow it down for you. And they are not throwing any money out the windows if you just want to jog along side instead of getting on. And when the train does not fill up quickly that is secondary to the foundational tracks that will be laid for the final destination.

I am all in on this bet. How about you?