Brailer 'pretty impressed' with proposal on meaningful use

Former national health IT coordinator Dr. David Brailer is "pretty impressed" with the proposed criteria for meaningful use of EMRs that HHS officials published Dec. 30.

According to Brailer, who now runs an investment fund in San Francisco, the proposal is an outgrowth of much of the work he did as the first head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology from 2004 to 2006. Then, ONC didn't have much money, but it was able to convene standards-harmonization activities, fund creation of an EMR certification mechanism, test various means of health information exchange and provide some direction for health IT initiatives.

"The meaningful use criteria are highly consistent with what we did," Brailer says in an interview with Healthcare IT News. "It feels right to me." He says the plan is the result of the "hand of thoughtful policy" that is more substantive than symbolic.

Still, Brailer is critical of the decision by Congress to put the EMR incentive program in the broad, $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a bill that passed largely along party lines less than a month after President Obama took office. "It puts more risks on healthcare IT adoption than are necessary," he says. Given its history of rolling back planned Medicare fee cuts year after year, Congress may later vote to delay or eliminate penalties for non-use of EMRs that are scheduled to take effect in 2015.

For more on Brailer's views:
- see this Healthcare IT News story