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First Meaningful Use Dollars Are Just the Start

by Jonathan Bush, President & CEO

The first of our clients just got issued his Meaningful Use check. He is Dr. Allen Ferguson, a family practice doc in Eaton, Ohio. He practices in a health professional shortage area so it was a little bigger than the $18K maximum year one payment. He was thrilled and we are thrilled for him…but not ecstatic, yet.

Unlike other companies, our goal is not and was never to build an application that could only be used to get a bonus like the Meaningful Use bonus. It is to actually GET EVERY BONUS available and every payment dollar deserved by every doc on our network.  Our mantra for each service team is this: Be the best in the world at getting docs paid for doing the right thing.

This presents a two-fold challenge in this mini-era of Meaningful Use bonus infatuation. First, we want it all, and less than all will not do.  We have guaranteed that every Medicare eligible doc on our athenaClinicals EHR service who signs up and does his or her part will in fact get it. Hence, our real measure of success is 100% of docs winning and NOT the idea that winning is possible. Second, we are committed to ensuring that every doc actually achieves the measures even though the government has taken a "don’t ask/tell" stance by requiring only that docs "attest" that they are compliant rather than show it. We can’t play that way. Since we’re on this thing called the cloud, we actually do know exactly how Meaningful Use compliant every one of our docs is and exactly what they have to do to cross the threshold to meet the definition. In fact, what the hey, here’s a quick snapshot of how our clients were doing as of mid-May on one of our measures:

Cool that we know this right? As it shows, we’re making progress on one of the more challenging measures for providers…but it also shows we’ve got work ahead to get them to the finish line. And the finish line for us is not when every doc is on a certified EHR but when every doc who signed up for our guarantee and did his or her part has banked their payment. That’s when we’ll send out our rooster dance press release.

In the meantime, nice job Dr. Ferguson.

Jonathan Bush is the President and CEO of athenahealth.

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