Many Doctors, Hospitals Unhappy With Health IT Rules, Despite Windfall
Though the federal government plans to give doctors up to $44,000 each, as well as millions of dollars to hospitals, to help buy health information technology, many providers are unhappy with the stimulus-funded program, the Huffington Post Investigative Fund reports. "Some rural health organizations fear the program could exacerbate a 'digital divide' by concentrating the funding in elite hospitals that already computerize their records."
"Much of the controversy has flared over a requirement that medical providers make 'meaningful use' of digital records to collect any money." Though the proposed definition of 'meaningful use' was devised by two panels that included industry representatives, many health organizations were "alarmed" by its "tough goals-such as writing patient treatment orders electronically-that present technical challenges that may be difficult for many users to achieve for some time" (Schulte, 3/8).
In related news, "One of many potential beneficiaries of last week's release of a proposed federal rule outlining the process by which HHS will authorize organizations to test and certify electronic health-record systems is the not-for-profit organization formed in 2004 to do those very tasks," Modern Healthcare reports. "The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology has a first-mover advantage under the new rule" (Conn, 3/8).