Provider organizations are starting to get a handle on provisions of the final meaningful use rule. They’re recognizing their biggest challenges in qualifying for federal EHR adoption incentive money. Several providers shared their views during the Institute for Health Technology Transformation’s Summer Health IT Summit in Denver.

For Evon Holladay, vice president of business intelligence at Catholic Health Initiatives in Englewood, Colo., the challenge is developing and implementing a governance structure to facilitate adoption among 55 owned hospitals and some 400 affiliated ambulatory practices.“We really have a high bar to bring 60,000 people forward in an electronic world.”

For the past five years as it expanded its information technology capabilities, Denver Health has asked physicians what they need, notes Andrew Steele, director of medical informatics. Now, the organization must focus on attaining meaningful use, which means docs’ I.T. wish lists will have to wait for a while. “I think that will be a sales job that is going to be hard.” One of the challenges derives from the fact that meaningful use focuses on patient engagement and overall public health improvement, Steele says. These are issues that would not otherwise have been focused on because providers don’t get paid for these types of improvements, he adds.

 Dana Moore, CIO at Centura Health in Colorado, echoes Steele’s concerns. Organizations need to make sure that meaningful use incentive funds are spent on patient improvement and not just sent to a physician’s bottom line, he says.

Providers often strive to make their vendors partners in care and not just a contractor, Moore adds. That’s critically important now if meaningful use is going to improve care. He’s telling vendor leaders that Centura wants them to act like CEOs of a patient care organization and not think of themselves as merely a software supplier. That’s because their products are at the heart of patient care. Those who adopt that mindset “are the vendors who will survive and thrive.”

--Joseph Goedert


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