Jacob Reider: Meaningful Use Stage 2 is a 'high bar'

To any hospital CIOs concerned that the recent extension to Meaningful Use Stage 2 does nothing to alleviate an aggressive start date, Acting National Coordinator for Health IT Jacob Reider has a message: the incentive program is hard work.

Reider, in an interview with SearchHealthIT's Don Fluckinger at last week's mHealth Summit in Washington, D.C., emphasized that keeping the start date the same is the right thing to do in the long run. He said that "patients deserve" the work that will be put in, and that those who work in the industry believe that work will ultimately lead to better quality and efficiency of care.

"This is a high bar. ... It's not meant to be a handout," Reider said. "This was meant to be a motivator to do that hard work, to stay committed, to stay the course."

Reider compared the situation to a decision about which his son, a college student, had recently sought advice. "[T]he right fork in the road is, 'take it easy.' The left fork in the road is, 'work harder,'" Reider said of his son's decision. "There's value in working harder. That's what's going to make you a stronger person."

The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives called the decision to not alter the start date for Meaningful Use Stage 2 disappointing, reiterating in a statement that eligible hospitals and professionals need flexibility for that start date, particularly in light of other federal mandates on the horizon.

"There is a perfect storm brewing," CHIME President and CEO Russell Branzell said. "With ICD-10 compliance coming into view, with HIPAA compliance demanding renewed attention and with all the activities associated with the Affordable Care Act converging in 2014, providers are nearing a breaking point."

While John Halamka, CIO at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, earlier this year called all of the bottlenecking mandates too big in scope, he said that CMS' proposed extension is "a first step in the fine-tuning of the national healthcare IT timeline."

To learn more:
- read the full SearchHealthIT interview

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