Hospital CIOs want more time for Meaningful Use

Four hospital CIOs, worried about the combination of increasingly rigorous demands and shorter deadlines in Meaningful Use Stage 2, traveled to Washington, D.C., on Tuesday to reiterate such concerns in front of both the Health IT Policy and Standards committees.

In their testimony, the CIOs--representing the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives--clarified why CHIME, in May, called for a one-year extension for Meaningful Use Stage 2. They included Pamela McNutt (pictured) of Dallas-based Methodist Health System; Rodney Dykehouse of Hershey, Pa.-based Penn State Hershey Medical Center and College of Medicine; Randy McCleese of Morehead, Ky.-based St. Claire Regional Medical Center; and Tom Pagano of HCA Capital Division in Richmond, Va.

"The biggest issue … is that we just don't have enough time to implement and exercise the 2014 certified software," McNutt said.  "All of the objectives listed as challenges require significant work to implement after upgrading … For example, after delivery of the patient portal we will have to map data elements from the patient record and clinical staff will need to ensure that the data is representing accurately."

McNutt added that she was "very concerned" about the possibility of unintended consequences due to "hasty implementation."

McCleese pointed to funding as a primary concern, saying that small and rural hospitals already make ends meet on "razor-thin margins."

"Capital," he added, "is hardly available for those items that provide direct patient care."

McCleese also echoed McNutt's sentiments about unrealistic deadlines.

"The difficulty in achieving Meaningful Use, beyond the new, more complex objectives, is compounded by the short timeframes allowed for hospitals to implement 2014 certified EHRs," he said, according to a CHIME announcement.

A majority of hospital CIOs recently polled by in late May called the Meaningful Use program flawed, agreeing with CHIME's request for a one-year extension. CHIME's proposal came in response to a call in April from six GOP senators to reboot the Meaningful Use incentive program.

To learn more:
- read the CHIME announcement
- here are more materials from the meeting