Our July 18 meeting of Health TechNet was held at Teqcorner in McLean, VA and focused on the increasing uncertainty surrounding the Meaningful Use program.
Many questions have recently been raised about whether compliance with meaningful use rules and regulations, and the timelines mandated, is possible given many uncertainties in the rules and standards, as well as failure of available technology to perform as advertised. While some systems are on track, many others (including several prominent early supporters) are not. There is a growing concern that providers may have to absorb the penalties as an alternative to continued investment in unclear results under the program. On the other hand, there is new leadership at DHHS and the Office of the National Coordinator which may turn things in a better direction. Collaboration between the industry and government agencies continues to be critical to the future of the program as it evolves.
Our primary speakers were: 1) David Vickers, who is Director of the Program Management Office at Virginia Hospital Center, which is on the front lines of implementing a new electronic medical record system, a health information exchange program, and a system-wide integrated system; and 2) Jeffrey Smith, who is the Vice President of Public Policy for the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), where he serves as the organization’s chief point of contact for policy development and government affairs in Washington, D.C. They were joined by others in our group (including several former ONC officials) who helped give a perspective on this situation.
We also focused on key personnel changes at DHHS and on the Hill, which likely will have an effect on the future of health information policy in the coming months.