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Meaningful Use Spurs Leaders to Take Action

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media, November 30, 2010

The headline for senior leadership editor Philip Betbeze's most recent column is dead on: Hoping for Repeal is Not a Strategy. As we gear up for our annual industry survey season here at HealthLeaders Media, he says he's noticing a disturbing trend: Some healthcare leaders are pinning their hopes for their organization's long-term well-being on repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

In light of that news, healthcare CIOs and other leaders might want to give themselves a little pat on the back for their response to another federal program—the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and its meaningful use requirements.

As I read through the responses to this year's industry survey, as well as the results of another forthcoming report on electronic health systems, I'm seeing signs that leaders are making strides toward becoming meaningful users of electronic health systems.

The report will be released next month, but I'll give you a sneak preview: A robust number of hospitals, health systems, and physician practices have implemented clinical documentation, computerized physician order entry, ePrescribing, and many other capabilities.

In fact, many healthcare leaders say they started getting ready to meet meaningful use before anyone knew for sure what meaningful use would entail.

On the other hand, reader Mike Martin responded to a story on meaningful use readiness in this month's issue of HealthLeaders magazine by noting that many physicians are "rightfully speculative about the big electronic push based upon some research and experience of others."

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