Upcoming Changes To Meaningful Use
Healthcare IT News featured an article on January 12, 2016 that will leave some happy, some scratching their heads and everyone wanting more information.
Since the creation of Meaningful Use (MU), the healthcare industry has been collectively busting a gut to meet the ambitious targets set by the program. Yet all that changed just a few days ago when Andy Slavitt, Acting Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator (CMS) announced that the program would be dramatically changed for the better in the near future. These changes were confirmed to be planned for the upcoming months with Mr Slavitt saying.“Meaningful Use as it has existed will now be effectively over and will be replaced with something better”
Changes to MU have been something healthcare professionals, administrators and vendors alike have been calling for, for years. Despite the improvements in data collection and healthcare informatics that have been a result of Meaningful Use, the general feeling that we have received is that the requirements imposed on clinicians fail to offer improvements to patient care and even go so far as to force doctors to focus more time on paperwork more than patients.
In his address Mr Slavitt acknowledged these concerns and stated that they would be influencing the changes planned for 2016.
We've been talking about the challenges faced by physicians adopting EMR's for some time now.
Dr. James L. Madara, CEO of the American Medical Association, echoed Mr. Slavitt’s comments on the current, negative impact of EHRs on physicians’ practices. He noted that many physicians are spending at least 2 hours each workday using their EHR and may click up to 4,000 times per 8-hour shift.
Healthcare Informatics leaders commented that in addition to the strain placed on clinicians, Healthcare Information Systems did not have the capability or infrastructure to meet the targets set.
It's Big News, But It's Light On Details
The announcement of the move away from MU is undoubtedly important, but doesn't offer too much detail about what the changes will be. There is some suggestion that the recent Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) will be central to the new strategy in 2016. MACRA brings pay-for-value objectives into play through a merit-based incentive program, compelling physicians to be measured on quality, cost, the use of technology and practice improvement."
The strategy will likely include changes to the way the access to the medical marketplace is managed. Some commentators are suggesting a move away from a legislation dictated system and toward a more payment for quality type approach.
We are hoping for a greater focus on outcomes for patients and a greater understanding of the technology needed to allow healthcare providers to collect detailed documentation but also to connect and communicate meaningfully with patients.
This is a way forward for value based and innovative healthcare initiatives, which had stagnated due to the issues outlined above. Proponents of the system point out that it has created the base that can be built on in the future.
More details will surely surface in the coming months and we will be publishing the news as we hear it, along with feedback we receive from industry leaders.
"We are committed to building a program that is flexible and adapts around the goals of a provider's individual practice and population,"
Mr Andy Slavitt, Acting Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
We've Compiled The 'Must Reads' Regarding Changes in MU
Sanjay Gupta gives some of the best analysis of this announcement and offers good insight into the future of the healthcare marketplace and meaninful use.
Joseph Goedert gives a good summary of the announcement
Another simple summary with more quotes from the announcement.
Peter Basch & Thomson Kuhn give their care for reasonable use & discuss opportunities of Merit Based Incentive Payment Systems