Blumenthal not satisfied with first 'meaningful use' draft

Almost as soon as the new federal Health IT Policy Committee released its initial definition of "meaningful use," National Coordinator for Health IT Dr. David Blumenthal sent the workgroup responsible for the draft back to the drawing board." Healthcare IT News reports that following "lively discussion [on the criteria] and considerable input on meaningful use, we decided to send the workgroup back to work on another set," Blumenthal said during a conference call with reporters.

Meaningful use of EMRs is the standard by which healthcare providers will qualify for Medicare and Medicaid bonuses under the economic stimulus legislation.

The draft, issued Tuesday as promised, says providers should be able to capture and share data by 2011; establish care processes for improving outcomes, implement clinical decision support and receive public health alerts by 2013; and be able to measure and achieve better outcomes by 2015. Blumenthal reportedly suggested that it would be "perfectly reasonable" to move up the timeline in some cases.

The committee is taking public comments on the initial proposal through June 26. Blumenthal expects the workgroup to have a new plan ready by July 16. Whatever Blumenthal's office eventually recommends, CMS still gets the final say on the standards.

For more information:
- read the Healthcare IT News story
- see this report from Federal Computer Week
check out this Government Health IT story
- see this nextgov critique of the draft
- read the actual proposal and leave comments