Last week, the Integration Generation (GENi) blog posted an article identifying two sides to the ‘meaningful use debate’ regarding the release of the meaningful use and standards final rules. One side of the issue agreed that the meaningful use standards are the right solution for EHR adoption. The opposing perspective asserted that the guidelines are not in line with America’s healthcare needs and still need improvement.

In addition to the two perspectives acknowledged in the ‘meaningful use debate’ post, there is alternative perspective that has received a good deal of popularity online. The perspective suggests that congressmen may be fundamentally unaware of the true nature of health IT and, therefore, may need some time to enhance their insights on the necessary components which make health IT work – from patients to physicians to hospitals, etc.

Barbara Duck, acclaimed author of The Medical Quack blog, had a recent post addressing the level of understanding current decision makers have regarding the true nature of healthcare information technology. The following quote was a part of a reaction to the questions asked following a legislative presentation on EMRs and PHRs:

"We have the technology to connect and bring the world of electronic medical records and personal health records together and just need the funds… it was interesting to see inquiries on the committee asking "what is it" [PHR and EHRs]. It just somewhat caught me off guard… " – Barbara Duck, Investing in Health IT: US Senate Testimonies

This perspective adds an entirely new element to the ‘meaningful use debate’: education.

In order to become educated on current events, trends and concerns within the healthcare IT community, one must research and listen to a variety of opinions from thought leaders throughout the industry. Thankfully, there are a number of resources available online at no cost to anyone interested in learning more about healthcare IT, HITECH and meaningful use.

There are a number of government sponsored websites for primary information on healthcare, official documents and other detailed information. A few key websites are listed below:

  • – The official website for information on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (PDF – 1.07MB).
  • http://www.cms.gov/EHRIncentiveprograms – The official website for up-to-date information on the Electronic Health Record (EHR) incentive programs.
  • http://healthit.hhs.gov – The official website for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).

Website information aggregators such as Healthcare IT News, iHealthBeat and Health Data Management, are also great sources to consult for information on current events.

Blogs by thought leaders within an industry are another option to consider when wanting to become educated on a particular issue. Blogs are popular sources of opinion and can also act as aggregators for up-to-date information. The Corepoint Health sponsored HL7Standards.com website includes links to pertinent information as well as a weekly blog discussing trends in healthcare integration and HL7.

As many of the health IT training programs are being developed to support Meaningful Use, it is essential all involved parties – legislators to implementers – stay informed on what it will take to make all the moving pieces in a connected healthcare system to work efficiently and effectively.

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