In mid-November, I was interviewing provider organizations about their plans to register and apply for electronic health records meaningful use incentive payments. Six weeks before the incentive program becomes real, it was stunning how little folks know about how the program will work and how little guidance they are getting from the federal government.

I think the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has done a good job soliciting and acting on public comment as meaningful use was put together. But the guidance side has been limited to Frequently Asked Questions on two Web sites that often don't bring clarity, and brief superficial tidbits of useful information at trade show presentations that 99.99 percent of potential meaningful users are not attending.

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