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CMS Meaningful Use Rules Are Final: Now What?

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media, July 20, 2010

A number of organizations have objections about the final rule—ranging from security and privacy concerns—to worries that smaller or individual hospitals in multi-campus settings will face barriers to achieving widespread IT adoption.

"We continue to be concerned that, given limited vendor capacity and workforce shortages, many hospitals will not have timely access to certified products, since no certified EHR systems are available today," said Rich Umbdenstock, president and CEO of The American Hospital Association (AHA).

AHA also frets about the timeline for Computerized Provider Order Entry (CPOE), says the certification process penalizes early adopters by requiring them to upgrade or replace already functional systems, and adds that the rules limit how quickly hospitals can adopt a certified EHR that can benefit patient care.

"The challenge now is to extend its use and integrate it into the routine care processes in all hospitals, big and small, in both rural and urban areas," Umbdenstock said.

(See Winners and Losers in HHS Final Meaningful Use Rule and HHS Meaningful Use Final Rule Draws Guarded Initial Praise for more on the initial reaction to the rule.)

But concerns, quibbles, and complaints aside, it's time for healthcare organizations to get moving.

Get out the roadmap
Whether they've been sitting on the fence waiting for the final rules to come out or planning for their eventual release, providers will begin taking more concrete action, such as hiring IT staff and investing in hardware and software, says Mitch Morris, MD, national leader, health information technology for Deloitte Consulting.

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