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With providers and industry groups taking a close look at proposed CMS meaningful use measures for stage 3, it's important to consider what will motivate healthcare organizations and physicians to attest to their exchange of electronic clinical information about patients.
This is according to Chuck Christian, exiting chairman at the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) and vice president of technology at Indiana Health Information Exchange. SearchHealthIT sat down for a podcast interview with Christian at the CHIME15 Fall CIO Forum to discuss the groups' request for postponement, attestation and more.
In September, CHIME urged political leaders to postpone meaningful use stage 3. Christian explained that, "I think we really need to stop for a second and go back and look and see what were the impacts. Did we truly hit the marks on stage 1 and stage 2?"
Although healthcare organizations are attesting to stage 2, Christian explained that many of them are using the modified stage 2 rules, which are more lenient.
"What CHIME has proposed is: let's do a review to make sure that we're doing the right things," Christian said. "I think we have a lot to learn about how we … process this information. What do we do with it? And you know just racing rapidly toward another goal before we really know how well we've met the other ones is something that we really need to stop and think about a little bit."
However, earlier in October, CMS and the U.S. Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) released new and looser meaningful use reporting rules. In a statement, Christian said CHIME was pleased with the newly adopted 90-day reporting period for meaningful use attestation, the extended stage 3 comment period and the softened requirements for mandated patients to be able to view their health records electronically and immediately.
Christian added that now that the federal incentives to meet CMS meaningful use standards have all been paid out, motivation to attest is beginning to decline. However, he believes the recent modifications will help re-motivate people to attest.
"There's already been a drop off with attestations for stage 2 in the pure form. I think with some of the last modifications that came out [in the CMS meaningful use rule], ... that may pick up again, but you're still going to have those physicians who are willing to accept the penalties and just go on because of the way the penalties are designed," Christian said. "Some practices will take a pretty significant hit financially, others not so much, the same way with hospitals."
Christian also believes that motivation to attest will not be completely lost, because many people see the value in interoperability and HIE -- two goals that meaningful use stage 3 is pushing healthcare organizations to achieve.
"If we didn't have the automation and the ability to exchange information at the rate we are the [accountable care organizations] would have evaporated, in my opinion," Christian said. "We need additional information other than what is contained within that one organization if we're going to successfully manage the care of that patient."
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