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Some Candor About EHR and Meaningful Use

by Todd Rothenhaus, MD, Chief Medical Officer

Micky Tripathi, CEO of the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative, just published a terrific piece on the realities of capturing the CMS quality measures as part of MU. It’s a really resplendent post that caught our eye for its accuracy and candor.

“Report ambulatory clinical quality measures to CMS/States” is only a single Meaningful Use requirement. But if tackled faithfully, it essentially doubles the work of achieving MU. In other words, the quality measures are essentially a plump Matryoshka doll stuffed into the mother of Meaningful Use.

Micky accurately points out that CSC was the first to break the story back in January. At the time, we thought it was one of the most under-reported issues of the whole MU deal. As we were busy building all 44 possible quality measures directly into athenaNet, we were scratching our heads wondering how other vendors were going to do it? Our EHR and Quality Management Engine were built for Pay-for-Performance capture, but from what we knew of other vendors, things were going to be mighty complicated.

  • Numerators, denominators, exclusions?
  • Designing the optimum places for data capture without slowing docs down?

It gets really complicated.

Well, according to Micky’s analysis, it turns out that most EHR vendors tackled it by skipping school and not building more than a few required measures! In fact, athenahealth joins only a handful of other vendors that even bothered to build out the measures most specialists will find “meaningful” and want to use to attest. If you are using athenaClinicals, no matter what your specialty, we have your back.

Micky goes on to say:

  • “The most important areas in my view are determining what measures you’re going to report on…” No problem, we have you covered. Choose any measures you like. Our account managers will even help you decide.
  • “Developing a robust data acquisition and documentation strategy to support the numerators, denominators, and exclusions for your chosen measures…” Gross. We know because we did it for you.
  • “...and determining whether your EHR will be able to generate those measures.” athenahealth will. In fact we guarantee it.

Micky rightly points out that electronic reporting won’t begin until Stage 2, and that reporting bad results will still probably get you your check.

However, it’s only a matter of time before the world thinks a doctor is sub-par just because his EHR is.

Rothenhaus is the chief medical information officer for athenahealth.

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