A “Meaningful” Act (Pt. 1)

by Ruby Raley
Director, Healthcare Solutions

Healthcare providers implementing the HITECH Act seem to regard the implementation of eMR (electronic medial records) like a major organ transplant. All they’ve got to do, they figure, is get a new heart in the body, or a new liver, or a new lung, and get the patient set back up again, and everything is good. But what they forget is that they have to integrate that organ into the support systems of the body. Those are the vascular systems, the lymph nodes, the nervous systems and so forth. They need a specialist that has the ability to integrate that new organ, that new eMR system, into their ecosystem so that it’s much more effective.

One of the definitions of “meaningful use,” which you need to meet in order to qualify for incentives, is a capability for information exchange. I doubt that you’re going to upgrade every organ in your body or every system in your ecosystem or in your enterprise to achieve meaningful use, but I don’t doubt that you need a helping hand to integrate that new component, that new eMR, that new eHR-upgraded system. And that’s where a B2B service provider comes in, and that’s a B2B service provider’s core strength. A B2B service provider integrates, knits together and connects up components.

What I find is that people forget that there’s a lot of ad hoc file transfer that goes on today. You’ll have many partners who aren’t connected to your eMR/eHR. They could be third-party clinics and labs, external payers, external HIEs—all of these people and systems need to be connected. You have choices. You can pay your eMR/eHR vendor to connect them, or you can come up with new connective tissue, new vascular systems, to ensure that information flows, as Dr. Blumenthal says, to every corner of the body, and that it flows back in, is reoxygenated and sent back out to the body parts so that every part of the body is as healthy as possible. Again, that’s a B2B service provider’s strength. That’s what they do. Managed file transfer, email attachment management—these are core capabilities that you may have neglected to consider while you were focusing on implementing that new eMR system in your enterprise. But they’re necessary for security and for meeting meaningful use criteria.

(To be continued.)


  1. I seem to disagree a bit with you on this account that vendors are using the act as major organ transplant.

    I feel today medical practitioners are looking to avail of this federal incentive by trying to comply with the definition of meaningful use but at the same time EHR providers are looking at their own set of profits.
    This misunderstanding is mostly I believe as a result of wrong interpretation of the federal guidelines.. The EHR providers need to look at these guidelines from the prospective of the practitioners who deal with different specialties.
    Each specialty EHR has its own set of challenges or requirements which I believe is overlooked by in most EHR vendors in a effort to merely follows federal guidelines. This is resulting in low usability to the practitioners, thus less ROI, finally redundancy of the EHR solution in place.
    I think ROI is very important factor that should be duly considered when look achieve a ‘meaning use’ out of a EHR solution. Though one may get vendors providing ‘meaning use’ at a lower cost, their ROI / savings through the use of their EHR might be pretty low when compared to costlier initial investment. Found a pretty useful ROI tool that is pretty customizable and easy to use. It also accounts for the different specialty EHR’s too.
    Also the introduction of REC’s through the HITECH act. is a great way to avail of quality EHR solutions at competitive prices. The stiff competition among not only these REC’s but also among EHR vendors ( to become a preferred vendor of a given REC) will result in lot of positives to medical practioners.
    Looking the funding provided to the REC’s, the staggered grant allocation system also promises to be an unbiased way of allocating funds. It will also help in the concept of REC’s helping out each with their own unique business models. It can be one of the possible answers to the ‘safe EHR vendor’ challenge as discussed by many critics.

    Sorry to have diverted a bit from the topic but I feel this HITECT act and the REC’s are going to play an important role, as discussed above in the successful EHR implementation in the medical practices in our country.

    As far as implementation challenges goes, the federal guidelines for certification and usability are pretty much clear. Useful improvisation on these lines can make ones EHR’s friendly to most practices of varying specialties.

    • Thank you for your comments. We appreciate your viewpoint on ROI.

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