Blumenthal: Final 'meaningful use' regs won't be out before spring

Don't expect to see final regulations for "meaningful use" of EMRs until the second quarter of next year. National health IT coordinator Dr. David Blumenthal gave that warning last week to remind people of the arduous federal rulemaking process.

Though the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology is expected to issue a proposed definition before the end of the year, Blumenthal noted that there must be a 60-day public comment period on the proposal. Then, he and his staff must go review all the comments before making any appropriate changes to the rules. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will have to sign off on the final language, but not before the White House's Office of Management and Budget reviews the plan for budgetary impact, as is the normal for federal rulemaking.

Though the Health IT Policy Committee recommends that HHS recognize multiple EMR certification bodies, Blumenthal said it was too early to assume that the final rules will allow competition to the well-established Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology.

For details on the status of "meaningful use":
- take a look at this Health Data Management piece