As hospitals and providers have been rushing to meet deadlines, meaningful use stipulations have been fraught with controversy and the recent deadlines extensions are no different – stating issues with aggressive policy, immature technology, and tight deadlines. This summer, the AMA sent a letter to Kathleen Sebelius citing concerns that the timelines were too short, expressed concerns that the vendor community was not ready and that rushing to meet these deadlines would compromise patient care. Last Friday, just weeks before the looming 2014 deadlines, the government agencies, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), delayed Stage 2 timelines to allow time to implement the additional features for Phase 2, such as enhanced patient engagement, interoperability and health information exchange requirements, and to use the data from Stage 2 to make policy decisions.
One of the biggest concerns for meaningful use is interoperability, simply stated that different EHRs cannot talk to each other. In an interview about the deadlines, Dan Haley, VP of government relations at athenahealth, posed the question “Why is it that in 2013 different EHR vendors can’t talk to one another?” The lack of interoperability across EHRs is a major hindrance for the current referral paradigm. When a doctor using one EHR refers a patient to a specialist at another hospital using a different EHR, there is no way to integrate the two patient records. As mentioned in a previous post, 60 percent of ambulatory providers state that the move to EHR is increasing their workload just for document alone. However, rather than waiting for the interoperability to be addresses by the juggernauts, there are solutions that can help integrate data and manage patient records. MedVoy uses push/pulls to other EHRs and build connectors to allow access to all documentation in one place and to help avoid the duplication in procedures. MedVoy helps to bridge the gap between different EHR and put all the documentation into one place so it is simple, easy to use – helping to save time and money.