CHIME Chimes In, Says Meaningful Use Stage 2 Should Be Delayed One Year: I Agree

Breaking news hits the wires from the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), which has responded to a recent query by a group of six Republican senators who are hell bent on slowing down the meaningful use program to ensure its operating efficiently and not just handing out money to everyone claiming they’ve met Stage 1 (and eventually the other stages).

What’s remarkable about the news, though, is that CHIME actually issues a letter calling for a one-year extension of meaningful use Stage 2. According to CHIME’s letter, as reported by Healthcare Informatics,

CHIME argues that “such a move would ‘maximize the opportunity of program success.’”

The response from CHIME was signed by Russell P. Branzell, CHIME’s president and CEO, and George T. “Buddy” Hickman, CHIME’s board chair. The letter, in many ways, expressed concerns for the strength of and the longevity of the meaningful use program, specifically with the current state of interoperability.

However, though CHIME believes that meaningful use has been essential in moving the nation’s healthcare system forward, a primary goal behind it has been the elimination of “inconsistency and variability long-since built into healthcare information technology systems.”

CHIME defended the program’s foundation, but said a one-year extension of Stage 2 of meaningful use was called for and needed to insure that the program is effective and lasting, and worth the money being spent on it.

Frankly, I believe this move by CHIME is wonderful and powerful.

In what has become a movement based on grabbing as much money as possible, those seeking meaningful use incentives are forced to play the game according to the rules laid out for them. For vendors, meaningful use is and has been a land grab.

As soon as the program was announced, EHR vendors began to make their move, many times at the expense of caregivers. At the same time, the market became overwrought by technology providers of all kinds, jumping into the game and grabbing at the federal money.

For those of us in the vendors space (past or present), meaningful use was/is an end game. It defined a company’s place in the market, though some real leaders have emerged. Executives tell/told their teams to focus on whatever they could do to secure new contracts, despite the consequences.

Literally.

Deals have been rolled out; software has been given away in exchange for long-term support contracts. No matter the physician or the practice, even if not a right fit for the vendor, executives tell their teams to get signatures on the dotted line.

Such is life in business, I know, but meaningful use dialed up the frenzy. And craziness has ensued; because of the money.

As such, it’s nice to see an organization like CHIME step up and tell the world it’s okay if we need to step back and take a break and let the program settle a bit.

After all, why do we need to rush something along that so many people are claiming is so important to every aspect of healthcare?

However, even if nothing changes, CHIME has earned a bit more of my respect.

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