While the SCOTUS ruling does not alter the meaningful use program (created by the 2009 federal economic stimulus package), which structures health IT, it does provide incentive to adoption of EMRs by doctors. Some of the law’s Medicare programs give preference to physicians and medical facilities who have implemented electronic medical record systems (as well as financial incentives for demonstration of meaningful use)
The Wall Street Journals” CIO Report of 6/28 points out that health IT projects will now move forward by health care providers. The report also demonstrates other health IT-related provisions of the reform law including:
- Demonstration projects for accountable care organizations
- New collection and reporting responsibilities on health care disparities
- New health care-associated data collection by the IRS
- New operating rules to standardize HIPAA transactions
- Online-based insurance exchanges at the state level
- Web-based enrollment for health care and human services programs
The president of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, H.Stephen Lieber issued a statement saying “now that the uncertainty around the health reform law has been settled, it is critical that we continue the momentum to transform health care, including the use of information technology. We are pleased that the congressional support for nationwide adoption of health IT on both sides of the aisle remains strong and has been unaffected by the debate on the health care reform law”
For those of you who are uncertain what meaningful use is regarding health IT, it is one of connection and communication. It is not sufficient that a healthcare provider have an EMR system. It must also interface with the computers for an exchange of information with the laboratories, hospitals, radiologists, other physicians, rehab facilities, etc. so that patient data can be shared.
There are many patients who relish the information exchange and feel that its time has come. Especially helpful is the access to information when one travels or moves. Even health problems occurring while visiting out of town, can be treated more expeditiously.
There are other people who are frightened by the amount of personal information that will be “out there” on the web for any cyber-hacker to access or for the government to “get their hands on”.
Where do your sentiments lie?