What if there was no Meaningful Use?

On April 16, 1912 there was an article in the Daily Register in Anytown, Nebraska titled “Local Man Drowns.”  The article went on to note that a local man was lost at sea.  I paused for a moment trying to recall from my high school geography class the name of the ocean bordering Nebraska—there is not one.

It did not take long to realize that the newspaper was guilty of being more than a little parochial.  April 14, 1912 was the day the Titanic sunk.  The man in question had been lost at sea in much the same manner that the real headline of the story had been lost by the newspaper.

I think a lot of important healthcare IT headlines are being lost, and those loses can in large part be attributed to the puppet masters at the ONC and CMS.  It is difficult to swing a dead cat in a hospital cafeteria without hitting someone discussing Meaningful Use.  On the other hand, you could swing a blue whale without hitting someone talking about ICD-10.

The headlines are both buried and misinterpreted.  Some of the HIT headlines merit being repeated—feel free to use a highlighter on your screen to be able to locate the important ones.  Trying to meet Meaningful Use:

  • Is optional.
  • Does not mean you will meet it.
  • Could require most of your IT resources.
  • Means you may not have enough resources focused on ICD-10.

While these may appear to be trivial comments, misapplying your efforts could cost a large hospital more than tem million dollars.  Then figure another ten million to rectify the mess.

Ask yourself one question before you hire a pricey consulting firm to help you figure out how to meet Meaningful Use.

“What would we be doing if there was no Meaningful Use?”

Then do that.  Meeting Meaningful Use was never a part of your business strategy—you probably will not find it written in your three-year plan.  Did anyone sign off on the notion of spending millions of dollars to complete a task that has no ROI and has a reasonable probability of failing?

If it so happens that in pursuing your original strategy you can still meet Meaningful Use that is good.  The reverse is not so good.

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