Leading CIOs question timetable, specificity of meaningful use proposal

Uber-CIO Dr. John Halamka, of CareGroup Healthcare System in Boston, is known for his workaholic tendencies, mostly in the name of improving healthcare through information technology. After talking to peers from around the country, he has concluded that HHS either has to be more specific with its standards for meaningful use, reduce the scope of the requirements or give providers more time to comply.

"Many have said that the quality reporting requirement is 'too much, too soon,'" Halamka writes on his blog. "The patient engagement requirements also are 'too much, too soon.' Vendors have commented that they do not understand how to send reminders to patients per their preference. Providing 80 percent of patients with a clinical summary of office visits or care transitions will require significant retooling of software and incremental staffing," he adds.

After reading through the massive proposal for meaningful use of EMRs and related interim final rule on data standards and certification, Halamka put together a PowerPoint deck that he calls a "do-it-yourself board presentation on meaningful use." He is allowing others to use it without attribution.

Another health IT leader at a facility with advanced infrastructure--Greg Walton, CIO of El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, Calif.--agrees that the timetable for compliance is tight. "It's going to take us years to figure out how to do this. How to interoperate with the vendors and the new employees and get the hospital itself used to it. It's just a huge change and it's not going to go as smoothly as people speculate," Walton says in a podcast interview with Hospitals & Health Networks.

For more:
- peruse this CMIO story on Halamka's comments
- read Halamka's blog post and download the presentation
- listen to this HHN podcast with Walton, or read the transcript