CIO: Hospitals may find it challenging to show Meaningful Use

Hospitals may find meeting Stage 1 meaningful use criteria even more challenging than expected because of variations in how particular EMRs are used, as well as the limitations of those systems.

In testimony given on Jan. 11 to the Health IT Standards Committee, Joanne Sunquist, CIO of the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, said that her organization was having trouble in getting ready to attest to meaningful use of its EMR by April 1, when healthcare providers can begin to show that they meet the requirements.

Sunquist praised Hennepin County's EMR vendor, Epic Systems, for its efforts to prepare the organization, which includes primary-care clinics and other ambulatory-care units. But she said that, to her knowledge, "only one Epic customer has been able to able to successfully run all of the eligible hospital MU reports."

She didn't specify which customer that was, and Epic had no comment. But it's surprising that Epic, which serves many large healthcare organizations, is having these problems. 

Sunquist noted that Hennepin County has encountered difficulties in two areas: generating accurate reports on meaningful use objectives, which may require changes in workflow and/or documentation; and producing the quality data required by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. 

Six months ago, HIMSS Analytics conducted a survey indicating that only 22 percent of hospitals could show meaningful use on 10 or more of the 14 core metrics. It's unclear how much that has changed since then. 

To learn more:
- read this story in Health Data Management
- here's the press release on the HIMSS Analytics study