Is Meaningful Use based on a 'flawed mindset' of healthcare?

According to Patrick Soon-Shiong, M.D., billionaire and chief executive officer of healthcare IT company NantHealth, the Meaningful Use incentive program was born out of a flawed view of the healthcare industry.

Speaking at the Clinton Foundation's 2014 Health Matters conference in La Quinta, Calif. on Tuesday, Soon-Shiong said the creation of Meaningful Use has built "medical bridges to nowhere," Healthcare IT News reported.

"We've funded systems that don't talk to each other," he said. "Nobody has looked at healthcare as a systems approach."

At the J.P. Morgan 32nd Annual Healthcare Conference in San Francisco a day earlier, Soon-Shiong officially launched NantHealth, a "transformational healthcare IT company converging science and technology through a single integrated clinical platform, to provide actionable health information at the point of care, in the time of need," according to an announcement. The company, it would appear, is Soon-Shiong's answer the HITECH Act.

For instance, according to the announcement, its interoperable Clinical Operating System (iCOS), which can talk to any software, is currently installed in 150 practices, integrating 50 individual systems, managing 3.3 million patient records across 22 electronic medical records.

"Nobody has looked at healthcare as a systems approach," Soon-Shiong said.

Members of Congress are using the continued debate over the Medicare sustainable growth rate as an opportunity to require more interoperability among electronic health records in the Meaningful Use program.

Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) recommended an amendment to the SGR fix that would require interoperability by 2017 in order for a provider to be a meaningful user of EHRs. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) suggested a slightly different amendment that would require the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to adopt standards to ensure that EHRs were interoperable by 2017. The House SGR bill also called for interoperability by 2017.

Stage 3 of the Meaningful Use program is slated to begin in 2017.

To learn more:
- read the Healthcare IT News article
- read the announcement about NantHealth