This week, a study published by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), known as the “Congressional Watchdog,” revealed the Meaningful Use program is a roadblock to achieving EHR interoperability. Conducted at the request of congressional leaders, the GAO interviewed 18 groups outside of the federal government that specialize in EHRs and are working to achieve EHR interoperability.
GAO asked the representatives of these groups to share their perspectives of the meaningful use” program. Key findings from the GAO’s expert interviews:
· Representatives from 10 of the initiatives said that the meaningful use program’s requirements “divert resources and attention from other efforts to enable interoperability.”
· Representatives from 10 of the initiatives say that the criteria used to certify electronic health records systems under the meaningful use program are “not sufficient for achieving interoperability.” Three of these representatives suggested “amending the criteria to focus on testing systems’ ability to interoperate.”
· Representatives of 5 of the initiatives suggest “pausing or stopping” the meaningful use program.
Since 2009, the federal government has spent more than $30B on the Meaningful Use program encouraging the nearly 500k physicians and more than 5k hospitals who serve Medicare and Medicaid recipients. This money was included in the HITECH Act, which was part of the 2009 stimulus package. Currently, only about 12 percent of eligible physicians and 40 percent of eligible hospitals have been able to met Meaningful Use stage 2 requirements.
One of the key components of Meaningful Use is to improve the electronic exchange of a patient’s health information between physicians’ offices and urgent care centers and hospitals and pharmacies—what’s known as “interoperability.”
The full report can be found HERE.