|The Health Record Review
by Patty Enrado
Posted on Tue, Mar 09, 2010 - 01:44 am
Meeting meaningful use would negatively impact physician productivity, according to results of a recent Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) questionnaire. The physician members' concern couldn't have come at a more critical time - within days of CMS closing the public comment period.
The bottom line, they say, is that the criteria are too much, too soon. There are many membership associations representing industry groups that have weighed in just as critically as MGMA, but nearly 68 percent of respondents indicating their offices would suffer productivity declines if they try to meet meaningful use criteria is very worrisome. It's slightly offset by the 31 percent of respondents who said productivity would increase by 10 percent. The fact that MGMA reiterated its support for EHR adoption in medical offices is also comforting.
Is it possible miscommunication and/or conflicting or lack of complete information influenced the responses? Absolutely. Here's just one example. Yesterday, I posted a blog about the Consumer Partnership for eHealth's consumer and employer group response to the arguments surrounding the meaningful use criteria. Regarding the argument that the criteria's timeline is too aggressive to meet, the response from Consumer Partnership for eHealth is: "The requirements for year one of the proposed rules are based on the capabilities and standards of today's certified EHR technology." Interestingly, a physician who participated in the MGMA survey stated: "Given there is not an EHR out there that currently meets all the criteria of meaningful use, 2011 is not enough time to get a new/upgraded system in place and adopt all the new processes that will be required for meaningful use." Some EHR vendors are guaranteeing meeting the meaningful use compliance. Yes, we are talking about marketing strategies and vendors, but the ones making those claims are established vendors who would stand to lose market share should they fall short of their commitment. Even if you dismiss vendor guarantees, would CMS put out completely unattainable goals?
There is a segment of the provider population that can meet the criteria. The overarching goal, however, is to include as many providers as possible. With that in mind, CMS needs to see where various influential provider groups fit within the overall arguments. No doubt, changes to the proposed criteria are in order. What gets changed will determine how much wider that circle of inclusion becomes.