A year ago if someone had told us our Healthcare IT Practice had any home on Twitter, or any other major social media forum, we would have — and probably did — laugh at the thought Yet, the recent legislation, the national push toward EMRs and EHRs, and the growing debate over ARRA and how to interpret “Meaningful Use”, has us tweeting along with the best of them.
Last week, the Meaningful Use Interim Rule was published. And, well, it’s confusing.
What is it and why do we care? Simply put, if money is “candy”, then Meaningful Use rules, when finalized, are the keys to the candy store, and more importantly, the instructions on how to fit the keys in the keyholes. What must a doctor’s practice do to comply with and take advantage of the ARRA/HITECH regulatory “rules of engagement to qualify for the money? What minimum requirements must be met, and what form of compliance reporting should be used to qualify for Meaningful Use reimbursement.
Why are pundits, practitioners and physicians tweeting about it? We have a unique opportunity to give feedback before this Interim Rule is made final. But, let’s face it, it’s 556 pages. Do you want to read it? http://www.federalregister.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2009-31217_PI.pdf. The “Standards & Certification Interim Final Rule: Initial Set of Standards, Implementation Specifications, and Certification Criteria for Electronic Health Record Technology” otherwise known as the EHR certification requirements is another 136 pages. Available here. We simply must rely on thought leaders, the data they cite, their interpretation and their analysis, if we’re going to be a part of creating a workable (dare we say “meaningful”?) rule.
What should you do? Well, if you’ve read all 692 pages and are ready to provide feedback, the US Government has made that super easy to do. Just click here, and search for the regs by number. For the rest of you who are not ready, or have the time to ready the regs, we have some easy suggestions for you. First off, thanks for reading our blog. Please check back often, we promise to try to get you the real-time data that will help you interpret these and other confusing rules. Follow us on Twitter as well! People much smarter than we are blog and Tweet all day. We are committed to the timely and accurate flow of information and promise to retweet the informative and useful ones.
You are also welcome to call and e-mail us. We know this all seems confusing, but it is not as bad as it appears — as long as you have someone you trust at your side that understands which “keys” open the door to the Candy Store.