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HIMSS attendees share their dreams for an ideal meaningful use update

We polled executives of health systems and vendor organizations to hear their thoughts about what's missing from meaningful use.

Editor's note: This is the second part of a two-part installment of "HIT Happens," a regular opinion column tackling health IT trends. The first part, where we asked HIMSS attendees to explain what they'd do if given the chance to create the next meaningful use update, can be found here. Part two reveals more responses to the same scenario.

Zane Burke, Cerner Corp. president: "I would have liked to see some sort of stratification based on size of organization. That would have been helpful for my clients, because not all of them are created equal."

I wish there was a standard set of data we all interchanged.

Ed Ricks,
VP of Information Services, Beaufort Memorial Hospital

Sam Bagchi M.D., Methodist Health System (Texas) Chief Medical Informatics Officer: "We'd have usability certifications. I think the spirit of the rules is good, but when we have third parties who don't understand clinical workflow certifying software and I have to sell it to doctors, that gets my blood pressure up, that's where we're struggling."

Ed Ricks, Beaufort (S.C.) Memorial Hospital vice president of Information Services: "The interoperability is brilliant, or somehow forcing us to that. I almost wish and this could never happen because too many people -- politically -- wouldn't want it, but I almost wish that CMS would drive health information exchange [HIE]. We already submit all our data to them anyhow for billing and quality reasons. I wish there was a standard set of data we all interchanged to drive HIE but that's not going to happen."

Marc Probst, Intermountain Healthcare vice president and chief information officer: "I would change it to be a focus on standards, not on functions."

Thomas Gordon, senior vice president and chief information officer for Virtua (Southern N.J. healthcare provider): "The focus would be on outcomes and not based on, 'Do you have a check box in the system?'"

Jorge Scheirer M.D., Reading (Pa.) Health System chief medical information officer: "I would change the reimbursement rules. The cost of EHR implementation may be $34,000-$39,000 per physician in the first year and annual maintenance costs may be $17,100 per physician per year. The maximum $44,000 reimbursement spread out over five years may represent only 35% of the actual cost for many eligible professionals."

John Glaser, CEO of Siemens AG's Health Services Business Unit: "I would change two things: In the short term I would extend the timeline providers have to attest to stage 2. The second thing I would do is shift from this emphasis on feature functions of an EHR and emphasize outcomes goals [on diabetes patients, for example]."

Eric Dishman, general manager of the Intel Health and Life Sciences Group: "I would drive interoperability, with teeth. It's one thing to say, 'Use a bunch of standards.' It's another thing to measure and see whether the institution and the software that's being used is actually incorporating the standards...validated and fully interoperable."

Randy McCleese, vice president-information services/chief information officer, St. Claire Regional Medical Center (Morehead, Ky.) and board chair for the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME): "I'd change it from all-or-nothing to something [graded on] a percentage. If we don't have it 100% correct, there's no incentive funds there for us."

Let us know what you think about the story; email Don Fluckinger, news director, or contact @DonFluckinger on Twitter.

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