Travelling to conferences recently showed me an interesting trend, and that is of software vendors providing along with their package a "Guaranteed Certifiable Product" or "Guaranteed Stimulus Money". While some of the requirements have been described, it is alarming to see that this trend is spreading like wild fire and gaining momentum. Much of the concerns should be around how practices will gather the resources and the right stakeholders to apply meaningful use and implement policies and procedures as part exchange of electronic health records.
So, while we are coming to a better understanding of the ARRA HITECH, we are now facing a new round of recommendations and new potential incentives. On October 29th, 2009 House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a new Bill by the 111th Congress titled: Affordable Health Care for America Act".
After reviewing some of the sections that are relating to health care technology or HITECH, I discovered some very encouraging items in the bill. I will just list the very basic AHCAA HITECH summary of the areas I got through reading:
- The bill recommends that a study be conducted to see if providing higher rates of reimbursements or other incentives would increase the adoption of certified EHR.
- The secretary will have until January 1st, 2012 to develop a plan to integrate clinical reporting on quality measures which would include the following items:
o The development of measures that can demonstrate meaningful use of HER, and clinical quality of care furnished to an individual.
o The collection of health data to identify deficiencies in the quality and coordination of care for individuals eligible for benefits.
- Extension of Incentive payments from Act 42 USC 1395w -4(m) (1) where 2010 payments would be replaced by 2010, then instead of 2009 inserting 2010.
- Promoting low-cost electronic health records software packages that are available for use. Examples (can anyone say Medsphere is loving the AHCAA) which is based on the package of the Veterans Administration.
This was an abvious expectation from any bill that was upcoming. Making the push for electronic health records part of a public option, the motives are to encourage the adoption of EHR after many healthcare providers showed some resistance ARRA plans.
Between requiring electronic clinical data reporting, to adopting meaningful use, it to note that adopting some Electronic Health Record system will improve coordination of care, reduce medical error, and provide faster access to data when it is most needed. At this stage the only debatable factor of any EHR package is whether it offers a true Positive ROI.
This is the challenge that much of the current vendor must prove to the rest, otherwise everyone will look to OpenSource and vendors will lose a substantial market share.