There is a lot of uncertainty in the healthcare industry following CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt’s comments at the J.P. Morgan Annual Health Care Conference on January 11, where he indicated that the Meaningful Use program will come to an end this year.
“Now that we effectively have technology into virtually every place care is provided, we are now in the process of ending Meaningful Use and moving to a new regime culminating with the MACRA implementation,” Slavitt said. “The Meaningful Use program as it has existed, will now be effectively over and replaced with something better.”
He was quick to clarify that the Meaningful Use program is still in effect and that details over the next stage will be released over the next few months, but the announcement sent waves throughout an industry that has been clamoring for CMS to make some changes to a program that some considered was far too ambitious.
What’s Behind the Change?
In a co-authored a post with Karen DeSalvo, M.D., National Coordinator for Health IT, Slavitt expanded on the initial announcement. “The EHR Incentive Programs were designed in the initial years to encourage the adoption of new technology and measure the benefits for patients,” they wrote. “And while it helped us make progress, it has also created real concerns about placing too much of a burden on physicians and pulling their time away from caring for patients.”
With that in mind, Slavitt listed four main drivers behind shifting away from the current Meaningful Use regulations:
- Focus on outcomes. The current regulations have a heavy focus on the use of technology rather than the outcomes technology can produce for healthcare providers and patients.
- Room for customization. The needs of individual practices can differ from the broad needs of the government. Providers must be able to customize technology to suit their goals.
- Open APIs. Physicians must be able to move data in and out of EHRs securely while working with apps, analytics tools and other connected technologies. This may also level the playing field for health IT start-ups and new entrants.
- In order to facilitate collaboration between physicians and consumers, and truly engage patients in their own care, interoperability will be at the forefront.
Slavitt and DeSalvo went on to explain that while further MACRA regulations will be rolled out throughout the year, the current Meaningful Use Stage 3 regulations are still in effect.
Health IT and interoperability in particular will continue to be at the forefront of these regulations in coming Having a trusted health IT partner in your corner will make this transition much easier. emids has deep understanding of the health IT field and can help you with all of these challenges.