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HIMSS: Software Bugs, Shifting Alliances Unsettling for Healthcare CIOs

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, March 4, 2014

Some revelations made at the HIMSS 2014 conference illustrate how difficult this period of transition is for healthcare executives charged with bringing compliant, interconnected electronic health records systems online at their organizations.

Another HIMSS conference is done, leaving CIOs plenty to ponder.

On the last day of the event, CMS announced it would grant more hardship exemptions to those who cannot meet their end-of-2014 attestation dates for Meaningful Use Stage 2. The announcement was a clear victory for CHIME, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, whose leaders had lobbied hard along with the American College of Physicians for some leeway during a difficult year. More on that in a future column.

Earlier at HIMSS, the CommonWell Alliance demonstrated its patient ID service operating across different vendors' electronic health record software on the show floor, and arranged for some of its pilot sites to meet with the media. But this was a lower-key event than I would have imagined a year ago. Still, the announcement of a major commitment to the work of the alliance by Tenet Healthcare was evidence of some solid momentum.

Seemingly in response, Epic and a number of partners active in the Care Connectivity Consortium, including government-assisted Healtheway, announced Carequality, a collaborative bringing together EHR vendors, HIE vendors, care providers, and IT organizations together to address the remaining challenges involved in inter-network exchange.

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