‘The time is right’: CIOs react to MU’s end

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In a speech that sent shockwaves through the healthcare world, CMS acting director David Slavitt announced earlier this month that CMS is in the process of dismantling Meaningful Use and will be moving away from the practice of rewarding providers for the use of technology to care for patients. 

With the program soon to be a thing of the past, many of the nation’s healthcare CIOs weighed in on the demise—and eventual legacy—of MU.

"I think the meaningful use program was good for what it was, and I think it accelerated the adoption of EMRs in the U.S. by 10 to 15 years. I think it's reasonable not to push forward with meaningful use [stage] 3; a lot has been accomplished with meaningful use stage 1 and 2. I think there are areas like interoperability where we should shift our attention." — Daniel Barchi, CIO, New York-Presbyterian

"It's going to take 150 man-years to achieve full [meaningful use stage 3] certification of everything in the EHR. We could either create bold new population health and care management functionality, or spend 150 man-years certifying for meaningful use. I guarantee you, not one customer if the penalty is eliminated will suggest that certification for meaningful use is relevant. So the EHR vendors will go back to what their customers want, as opposed to what the government is mandating." — John Halamka, CIO, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

"It's truly unfortunate, but I'm not surprised. The lack of alignment in Washington, varied interpretations by our industry and its vendors, and the resulting and inefficient ‘MU clicks,’ as termed and borne by our physicians have led down this path. … The sad part of it all is that MU was designed with best intentions yet fated by regulation and political interests. I hope we can somehow maintain traction on the agendas of true health data exchange and interoperability as well as patient identification standards as many provider and vendor colleagues continue to cooperate this work.” — George Hickman, CIO, Albany Medical Center

“Meaningful use, in its current form, has only added a layer of rigid functions to the clinician’s workload, and has not added any additional value for providing quality healthcare to patients. … Fortunately, EHR adoption is moving forward quickly, and enforcement may not be necessary. In order to achieve value from the country’s meaningful use investment, we now need to focus on standards.” — Marc Probst, CIO, Intermountain Healthcare

“Going forward, my initial reaction when I heard was that I wasn't surprised. ONC and CMS have been indicating for some time that it's about the patient, it's about the quality and taking it to the next level. The time is right to sunset the word and program of 'meaningful use' and go toward something bigger and greater. My personal hope is it's something around meaningful experience that continues to put the patient at the center and look at everything from quality to engagement to customer services and all different aspects of the patient experience as being the primary driver." — Aaron Miri, CIO, Walnut Hill Medical Center