There are many healthcare trade organizations and even more healthcare professionals who have expressed comments and concerns about the healthcare standards interim final regulation (IFR) issued by Health & Human Services (HHS) and the proposed rule (NPRM) for Meaningful Use issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Although the public comment period for both have closed and government officials are busily trying to figure out what to change, some of the concerns or recommendations made by several of the healthcare trade organizations may be interesting to understand.

The purpose of this review is not to analyze each and every comment made by a selected group of associations. Instead, the purpose is to pick a few comments or recommendations from each in order to get a flavor of the perspectives. The selected organizations for this review pulls from various constituencies – physicians, hospital IT, healthcare standards, healthcare information management, etc.

In reading through the details from each of these organizations, there were several common themes and reactions as well as some key differences. Many of the differences are probably based on the interests of the professionals they represent.

Outlined below is a summary of the various perspectives:

 

Summary

There are many other statements by various organizations which can be read and summarized. However, in reviewing the above organizational statements, common themes emerge, which may be similar to other organizations not covered by this review. The following themes came through fairly consistently:

  • Slow it down – don't overwhelm the medical practices and hospitals. Meeting the HITECH goals is more important than rushing the implementation and losing participation or, worse, failing.
  • Don't forget that the majority of physician practices are small (fewer than 5 doctors). Ensure the rules are designed so that they can meet the objectives and participate fully.
  • Focus the healthcare standards. Set a firm direction so as to eliminate re-work later and provide greater focus now.
  • Electronic exchanges are needed, but ensure the infrastructure and approach is present to support the goals.
  • Don't exclude physicians who offer patient care in a hospital setting but have invested in implementing an EHR for their individual practice outside of the hospital.

Health IT reform is complex with many different perspectives, specialties, and organizations involved. Getting it all aligned and moving forward on a similar path will be challenging, to say the least. However, to get higher quality care as well as higher efficiency, there may be no other expedited way to achieve these goals.

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