Hospital CIOs call Meaningful Use flawed, back proposed extension

A majority of hospital CIOs recently polled by called the Meaningful Use program flawed and agreed with the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives' proposal earlier this month to extend Stage 2 by one year.

Overall, more than 76 percent of respondents to the survey said they would like to see an extension, while roughly 16 percent of CIOs did not support CHIME's proposal. About 8 percent of CIOs said they don't believe a one-year extension would be long enough.

"There is so much packed into the next few years," one responding CIO said. "A delay would help us in many areas."

Another CIO added that as more stages are added, the chasm between providers who can and cannot meet Meaningful Use will become more pronounced. The addition of stages prior to evaluation of previous stages--combined with tight timelines, interoperability issues and lack of a unique patient identifier--all were cited as looming concerns for the future of the program.

CHIME's proposal came in response to a call last month from six GOP senators to reboot the Meaningful Use incentive program.

"An extension is vital for providers, vendors and policymakers to ensure the outcomes sought in Stage 3 are realized," CHIME's proposal stated. "Your report highlights a number of fair and responsible criticisms of the program and it echoes many of the concerns CHIME has voiced over the last three years. But given the nation's increased adoption of EHRs, the increased investments in interoperable solutions and the early-stage transformations encountered everyday by our members, we remain convinced that the trajectory set by Meaningful Use is the correct one."

In another response to the senators, the American Hospital Association said that the Meaningful Use program needs work, but not an overhaul, citing that any interruption in incentive payments would be unfair to providers who already have made strategic plans and large investments.

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