"It means that I've got only about 12 or 14 months to learn what the certification requirements are, get my vendor to install software, and have it ready to go by October 1, 2013," Christian says. "I hyperventilate just to believe that, because I realize what that requires. But don't think that's just a tiny issue for community and rural hospitals. I think all of us in healthcare, even the larger systems" feel the pressure.
No one will feel that pressure more than physicians being asked to do even more than they do today. Even when they learn how to navigate all those new check boxes and unintuitive workflows, they may still be using software that hasn't been adequately tested.
"Just because we get rules out today doesn't mean the vendors are able to generate code tomorrow and get stuff out to implement," Christian says.
For now, expect the entire healthcare profession to lean even harder on the current software industry, with all its faults and shortcomings, to perform miracles. Given the massive amounts of money flowing from government to provider to vendor, it shouldn't be too much to ask.