Mostashari: 'Too soon' to talk about MU Stage 3 readiness

When it comes to Meaningful Use Stage 3 and beyond, National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari wants everybody to step back and take a deep breath.

"It's certainly too soon to express an opinion about that," Mostashari recently told SearchHealthIT in response to a question about whether or not Stage 3 will be a reality by 2016. Instead, he said, the industry needs to place more emphasis on finishing Stage 1 strong and stepping into Stage 2.

Doing so, Mostashari said, would help to curb panic stemming from "prejudging" and jumping to inaccurate and incomplete conclusions about the future of the program.

"Let's see what happens with Stage 2, let's learn from that, and let's give the policy and standards committees a little more time to make sure we can make additional step ups in terms of the standards and implementation guidelines," Mostashari said.

Several healthcare organizations--including the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association and the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives--all have expressed concerns regarding the pace of the Meaningful Use program, so it would appear that the government is heeding those concerns. The latter of those groups called the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's proposed 2016 threshold for Stage 3 "unrealistic" in comments made in January.

Mostashari also talked about health information exchange governance, saying that as much as he'd like to simply solve the problem by imposing interoperability standards, too many things are "in flux" to take that path.

"We are, by nature, forward-leaning and action-oriented at ONC, so of course we want to help," he said. "We see a problem, we want to solve it. Far harder is to recognize when we can make more progress by holding back."

To learn more:
- read the SearchHealthIT interview