AMDIS: Glaser agrees with calls for extension for MU Stage 2

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 - John Glaser, PhD

BOSTON—When considering the future of Meaningful Use, particularly Stage 2, the varied background of John Glaser, PhD, CEO of Health Services, Siemens Healthcare, allows for “multiple lenses” to view the situation.

Glaser spent more than 20 years at Partners HealthCare, ultimately as chief information officer, and also has long been involved in industry organizations such as CHIME and HIMSS.

“On the one hand we can say [Meaningful Use] has had a remarkable impact” on EHR adoption rates, he said. “We’re at an interesting moment in the journey where forces are putting clouds on the horizon.”

There is some evidence of a slowdown in EHR adoption, he said, citing a healthy percentage of providers who got their first year of incentive pay for Stage 1 and now do not want to take the steps necessary to achieve Stage 2.

Whether providers are dropping out or putting a pause on their Meaningful Use efforts, the situation can be “broadly characterized as a ‘trough of disillusionment.’ Sometimes in this industry we talk about the trough and say it’s normal that we go through that. We’ve got to be careful about the depth and duration of the trough and not dismiss it as something we’ll inevitably recover from.”

We could be in a plateau, however, due to the pressures of fiscal year 2014. “This is not exactly the redesign of care we had in mind. We rush. I sometimes see in our customer base people who just want the check. They say ‘help me do whatever I need to do to get the money.’”

Glaser cited the letter recently sent to Department of Health & Human Services Administrator Kathleen Sebelius requesting an extension for Stage 2. Unfortunately, because it was signed by Republican senators it came across as a salvo of bitterness related to healthcare reform.

“I think it’s worth extending for a year. What was done through legislation was an extraordinary effort to recast health IT. As bright as the people who wrote the legislation are, it’s not possible to get it all right. You will make mistakes. At this junction, let’s reassess what’s working and what’s not.”