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Analysis

ONC Chief Talks MACRA, Meaningful Use

By smace@healthleadersmedia.com  
   October 18, 2016

Under MACRA, improvements to meaningful use will continue, as will opportunities for information exchange, predicts the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

October 14—the day the MACRA final rule was released—found Vindell Washington, MD, head of the HHS Office of the National Coordinator, in San Francisco briefing the Association of Health Care Journalists.

In between other national briefings, I had 20 minutes to interview Washington one-on-one about the impact of the final rule and the road ahead for healthcare and healthcare IT. This transcript below has been lightly edited.

HLM: What do you say to hospital executives in particular now? They weren't so much addressed by MACRA, but they still face rule upon rule still with meaningful use. Is this going to continue to work for hospitals?

Washington: The meaningful use program I think has been very successful in the adoption space for hospitals.

I had an opportunity look at some of this data a couple of months ago, and if you look at where we were versus where we are now in terms of adoption and deployment, it's just not even close: 96% or 98% of [hospitals] are using electronic health records.

As a former hospital executive, I know that much of that came from the regulation to do this work. To imply otherwise, it doesn't ring true to me.

HLM: Many hospital executives want to declare victory on meaningful use and go home.

Washington: Yes, but the question is what's next. There are opportunities for [health systems] to exchange information better.

There is still more work to be done and as I look at what's happened with MACRA and the physician place and space, there are two things that come to mind.

Scott Mace is the former senior technology editor for HealthLeaders Media. He is now the senior editor, custom content at H3.Group.

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