Dr. Halamka’s Prescriptions for ONC: Will HHS, ONC and CMS Listen?

John Halamaka, co-chair of the Health IT Standards Committee and CIO at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center offered some advice to the next National Coordinator on his blog, Life as a Healthcare CIO. Here are his general recommendations:

  • ICD-10: Consider voluntary transactions for October 2014 and provide a 6 month grace period before enforcing the regulation,”…for the industry to catchup with the software, training, and process change needed for ICD-10 success.”
  • Meaningful Use Stage 2: Given that software companies are still going through the certification process, consider providing an 18 month reporting period for Stage 2.
  • Quality measure reporting: “Rather than escalate already burdensome quality reporting requirements, shouldn’t we step back and ask what measures are truly important and urgent in a fully electronic era? Reducing reporting burdens temporarily while a consolidated set of new electronic measures is developed would be very helpful.”

Other organizations have offered similar advice. Here’s the letter submitted by ACP. Another from AAFP. A letter from CHIME. Another from MGMA and still another from HIMSS.

While there are some differences in the details of the recommendations, these organizations, Dr. Halamka, and others are all identifying some critical issues with the Meaningful Use program as it is currently designed and being implemented. Let’s see if Dr. Jacob Reider, Interim National Coordinator will respond to these calls for modifications in the program before it is too late.

This post is the personal opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the American College of Physicians (ACP).

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