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Blumenthal’s Meaningful Use Proposal: Fast-track vs. ‘Vanilla’ Users

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National Coordinator for Health IT David Blumenthal sought to create new standards to recognize healthcare providers who have gone above and beyond in implementing electronic medical records, according to HealthSystemCIO.com.

But the new classifications may create unnecessary complications, critics say.

Speaking before the health IT policy subcommittee of the Department of Health and Human Services, Blumenthal laid out a proposal – which, at present, is only an idea, he said — to provide a fast track for companies that are achieving better-than-average results in using health IT, such as using electronic health records or EHRs, according to FierceHealthIT.

This would distinguish between the fast-track users and what he called “vanilla meaningful users,” according to HealthSystemCIO.com.

But one of the committee members Paul Egerman, a software entrepreneur, said the proposal might unfairly disadvantage smaller providers with less money.

“It’s important that there is no economic aspect to these classes, that poorer institutions can participate in the same way,” he said, according to HealthSystemCIO.com

Blumenthal defended his proposal as a way to cut back on the plethora of “functionalities and requirements,” that plague EHR adoption, which carry the appearance of micro managing, he said.

“Meaningful use,” a term to describe the implementation of health IT methods, has become a buzzword in the healthcare field, but has also led some to decry the “mysteries” of the system.

One of the provisions of the healthcare bill provided financial incentives for healthcare providers who showed “meaningful use” of electronic medical records. It was supposed to provide a boost for providers to make the switch from paper records to electronic ones. But the tangle of new regulations has also created confusion and complexity for some.

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