MU Slides into Summer of Discontent

Scott Mace, July 8, 2014

If the top dog in the EHR food chain is feeling like he is dragging regulatory chains around, then we have a technology modernization program that is, at best, troubled, and at worst, in crisis.

The federal government's EHR certification program is in disarray and may not be able to achieve its most important outstanding aim—to provide interoperability between different vendors' EHRs—anytime soon.

This despite CMS's meaningful use audit program striking terror in the hearts of even the staunchest healthcare CIOs, who fear an overlooked detail will lead to hefty givebacks of EHR incentive payments.

ONC's distracting effort to push forward with a 2015 set of EHR standards itself has generated a massive amount of negative feedback, and accusations that the organization hasn't incorporated three years of extensive public feedback into a troubled program. Now the program is facing considerable budgetary limitations as its original Congressional funding runs out.

Carl Dvorak, chief operating officer of Epic, the largest, and probably most profitable EHR vendor, recently testified that his job makes him "one of the people who wears the chains and drags the cinderblocks of [EHR] certification through life."

Meanwhile, Dvorak says he watches ONC "stand on the stage with West Venture Capital Funds people and… shuttle money to the smart medical record people in Boston, and I do get a sense of disparity."

Scott Mace

Scott Mace is the senior technology editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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