On January 11th at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco, Andy Slavitt, acting CMS Administrator, dropped a bombshell by announcing that “The meaningful use program as it has existed will now be effectively over and replaced with something better.”
In a CMS blog post the following day, Slavitt stated that "Since late last year we have been working side by side with physician organizations across many communities — including with great advocacy from the AMA — and have listened to the needs and concerns of many. We will be putting out the details on this next stage over the next few months." According to this statement by Slavitt, new Meaningful Use standards will (or may) include the following:
- Change the focus from rewarding providers for the use of technology towards better patient outcomes.
- Making it easier for technology companies to focus on the needs of providers instead of the needs of government programs. Slavitt said that "Technology must be user-centered and support physicians, not distract them."
- Remove current EHR inter-operability road-blocks by requiring open APIs which will allow apps, analytic tools, and other technologies to securely share EHR information.
- "And finally, we are deadly serious about interoperability. We will begin initiatives in collaboration with physicians and consumers toward pointing technology to fill critical use cases like closing referral loops and engaging a patient in their care. And technology companies that look for ways to practice “data blocking” in opposition to new regulations will find that it won’t be tolerated."
While this is great news for anyone who has been struggling with MU, it should be noted that it doesn't necessarily state that meaningful use is ending - it's just ending in the way that we have known it.