Healthcare IT is quite brimming with lots of activities with the healthcare stimulus package in the US through ARRA and HITECT act and deadline looming (effective from October 2010) for healthcare providers(hospitals, group practitioners, imaging centers) and eligible professionals (physicians) to get their slice of the pie.
We saw a piece of action today from US Centers for Medical and Medicaid Services with their release of final rule for Stage 1 Meaningful Use requirements and a coordinated release of final rule of Standards/Implementation Spec and Criteria for certification for EHR and from US Dept of HHS.
Here are some updates on final ruling of “Meaningful Use”,
- US dept of HHS and ONC have released their final rule for meaningful use. Check this link and this.
- Dr. John Halamka’s impression on the final Meaningful Use rules. overall he is impressed with the final rulings and the scope.
- New England Journal of medicine’s summary of the final rule – Here is the table of rule from NEJM
- Healthcare IT vendors welcome the final rule – of course – industry is going to get even busier with the set targets for the years 2010 and 2010
My brief and quick analysis:
1. Coordinated release of Meaningful Use and Standards requirements final rule
While the meaningful use represents the functional requirements ( the WHAT piece) that has to be met by the providers, the coordinated release of HHS final rule on standards, implementation specification and certification criteria ( the HOW piece) is a commendable job by the people at CMS and HHS.
For example there are requirements in final meaningful use on submitting immunization and laboratory data to public health agencies and providing patients with timely access to their electronic health data
HHS final rule on standards requires using existing penetrated (both from providers, vendors and available resources in the market perspective) standards like HL7 version 2.3.1, 2.5, HL7 CDA to accomplish exchange of information between providers and public health agencies and transferring data to patients.
This enables the providers, vendors to use existing standards to reach compliance on various functional requirements in meaningful use from a technical perspective.
I will follow up with frequent updates as I consume the bulk documents on meaningful use and HHS standards requirements and the nuances of implementation requirements.
Exciting times ahead in the Healthcare IT industry indeed and also I am starting to lead a delivery work on an eReferral project in the province of Ontario to enable physicians to refer patients to their specialist electronically rather than current way of phone calls, faxes and hodgepodge of activities.