Mostashari: Meaningful use to reach new heights

By Diana Manos
09:23 PM

“In 2012, meaningful use will soar," National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Farzad Mostashari asserted at the Jan. 10 meeting of the Health IT Policy Committee.

“Meaningful use will continue to be the cornerstone of our activities,” he told committee members. “We can expect to see the numbers continue to rise,” he said of participants in the federal incentive program for electronic health records adoption.

 [See also: 2011 MU incentives paid: $2.5B.]

“We’re going to do everything we can to ensure that every provider can be successful at meaningful use,” Mostashari said. “Vendors and providers are going to be asked to step up to the challenge – and it is a challenge. But, it’s a challenge well worth meeting.”

Also in 2012, Mostashari predicted interoperability and exchange would be the “second and more complex challenge,” following meaningful use. The emphasis will be on containing the costs and reducing the risks and liability of exchanging health data. Information “will flow at the speed of trust,” he said.

In 2012, the business case for care coordination, which requires the exchange of healthcare information, will be driven by payment reform, not only through federal efforts, but also by the way states and private plans will pay providers. “As we increase the value of data exchange and reduce the cost, information will flow,” Mostashari said.

The health IT czar said exchange would go slowly at first, with providers sharing only with providers they know on a first-name basis. “It will then go from a trickle to a flow, to a flood, as trust builds over time,” he said.

Consumer health IT will be a another emphasis for this year, with the government looking to find ways to encourage the uses of consumer eHealth, apart from EHRs, Mostashari said. “EHRs can improve patient self-management.” 

Last, but not least, Mostashari said quality measurements are slated for emphasis this year. “Across the entire lifecycle of quality measures, there is lots of work to be done.”

“We will be moving forward on the next generation of quality measurement,” he said. “We need the infrastructure for measuring quality, but also for improving quality.”

[See also: 11 healthcare data trends in 2012.]

Mostashari conceded that many of this year’s goals are the same as last year’s, only on a grander scale.

“There’s a lot on the table for 2012. There will always be some challenges we meet better than others. Looking back on 2011, it was our biggest [EHR adoption] year to date; 2012 will be even bigger,” he said. “We got here by being pretty good about staying true to our principles. This doesn’t mean we can’t be bold, but have to keep our feet on the ground.”

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