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most (not all) of the 2010 MU standards are likely to be, but most physicians, even those with current EMRs deployed, are not aware of MU requirements. NaviNet Press published a survey on March 19, 2010 that stated,”63 percent (of physicians surveyed) were unaware or unsure of what the ‘meaningful-use’ report- ing requirements were.” So even if physicians who are current EMR users receive software that supports all 2010 MU functionality, how will they be able to “self- certify” they have meet EVERY MU requirement by the Oct. 1, 2010 dead line? Remember, as the current law is constructed, miss one MU criteria, and you are disqualifi ed from meeting the entire standard – the “all- or-nothing” criteria. We conclude that few, if any, EMR-enabled physician practices will be able to certify that they have achieved three months of MU performance by Oct. 1, 2010 – cer- tainly no practices that did not already have a deployed EMR or even started adopting in 2010. So what benefi t will the Oct 1, 2010 incentive have? Effectively, none; it’s an empty pot at the end of the 2010 EMR rainbow. Whether Congressional candidates will fi gure this out before the November 2010 elections is doubtful, as the end of the 2010 Congressional session is rapidly approaching, so they will likely leave their mess and go back to their districts to campaign on the masterful way ARRA “rescued” the U.S. healthcare system. The next question is, “How many practices that start the adoption process in 2010 are likely to become certi- fi ed meaningful users by Oct 1, 2011, the second deadline where full reimbursement is still possible?” The answer is highly uncertain because the typical time to plan and adopt an EMR, and achieve MU is 12- 15 months. After that, the total reimbursement for physician adopters of EMR that achieve MU, falls off dramatically, and then the penalties start. But none of the legislators who gave us ARRA are asking, “Why should an eligible professional (EP – term for person able to become a meaningful user of an EMR) be penalized because the Washington policy makers and bureaucrats took almost two years to defi ne two words – meaningful use?”


EMRs and EHRs are great technologies that are es- sential for any truly integrated healthcare system to work in America, but to date every action the govern- ment has taken has generally slowed down the EMR adoption process and/or hurt many EMR developers (particularly smaller EMR developers). The meaningful use section of the 2010 MSP/Andrew EMR Benchmark is but one small snippet of the overall scope of this EMR research. We also track a list of more than 680 features that key EMR developer solutions implement, cataloging all practice specialties their products support, determining which computer practice management systems they


www.healthmgttech.com


integrate with, what PQRI and other quality measures they implement and much more. This information is available from MSP’s EHR Selector Web site (www. ehrselector.com) and our EMR Constructor Web sites, and will appear in future articles published over the next few months in Nelson and MSP publications. For readers who wish to acquaint themselves with EMRs and the EMR adoption process, we suggest obtaining a copy of “Successfully Choosing Your EMR: 15 Crucial Decisions” (Wiley-Blackwell at www.wiley.com or through the www. amazon.com Web site). A brief matrix of key features will be included in the next issue.


HMT About the authors and MSP


Arthur Gasch, co-author of “Successfully Choosing Your EMR: 15 Crucial Decisions,” founded Medical Strategic Planning (MSP) in 1992. MSP is a NJ-based medical market research firm, offering the MSP EHR Selector as the only interactive, Web-based, critically vetted EMR product comparison tool that includes MU, HIPAA and PQRI criteria and the latest KLAS Research EMR product-satisfaction scores. Learn more about MSP at www.medsp.com. Formerly manager of market research for Siemens Corporation’s electro medical division, Gasch has spoken on EMRs at Digestive Week, TEPR, the World Congress, AHIMA and other national medical conferences, and was moderator of the EMR panel at the October 2009 sixth annual NJ Biotechnology Conference for United Nation Trade Consuls. He was contributing editor for Biomedical Business & Technology newsletter from 1992 to 1996 and is publisher of Industry Alert, an MSP publication on emerging technologies to the U.S. hospital market. Art can be reached at art.gasch@medsp.com. Bill Andrew was the first HIMSS Lifetime Member, executive VP of the MSP EHR business unit, founder of Andrew & Associates, and creator of the EMR Survey, which became the MSP/Andrew EMR Benchmark, the most comprehensive EMR product compendium of the North American EMR market. Andrew established Andrew & Associates to provide EMR consulting services to the industry, prior to joining MSP. The EMR Survey was established by Andrew in collaboration with Dr. Richard Dick, Ph.D. (former study director, IOM CPR Study), and Dr. Robert Bruegel, Ph.D. Andrew also established the first industry-wide survey on EMR work-flow management systems, data that has now been incorporated into the MSP/ Andrew EMR Benchmark. Bill can be reached at bill.andrew@medsp.com


HEALTH MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY July 2010 23


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