A recent article in the AMA news discussed some of the continued ambiguities of the “Meaningful Use” prerequisites handed down by the Health IT Policy Committee. Nevertheless, it does give everyone an idea of where they are headed. Generally speaking, meaningful users are defined as healthcare-providers who are using E-Prescribing, that their EMR technology is connected in such a way that there is an electronic exchange of health information, and that clinical quality measures are submitted to the government via electronic means.
For practices that fail to have meaningful use by the end of the set timelines, not only would there not be incentives, there would actually be penalties in the form of reductions in Medicare reimbursements – unless the practice could demonstrate some type of financial hardship that would prevent adoption of EMR.
If you don’t think the financial incentives are worthwhile, thing again. SoftwareAdvice.com has a nice explanation of what medical practices have to gain by getting the ball rolling and not waiting until the perfect EMR solution falls out of the sky and hits them in the heads (note: it ain’t gonna happen).
To give you an idea of the timeline we are talking about, here is a graphic from a committee report (courtesy of Digitized Medicine). So, what are you waiting for?