Is Meaningful Use Really Just a Bunch of Hoopla?

By Jennifer Dennard
08:21 AM

There seems to have been a wave recently of articles, blogs and general sentiment by providers that – surprise, surprise – jumping through the hoops of Meaningful Use may be more trouble than it’s worth. This sentiment is nothing new, of course. Meaningful Use has had its detractors from day one. But the healthcare IT evangelists and the government has always carried the larger voice, and spoken through a much larger PR machine.

So why now? Why does it seem that the detractors are more vocal? Is it because providers are further along in the attestation processes, and have a better understanding of the true value to their particular bottom lines – particularly smaller physician practices and hospitals with correspondingly smaller budgets?

Is it because the funding handed out by the government to entities such as regional extension centers for marketing purposes has dried up, precluding them from continuing to spread the good word?

Is it because providers, in an effort to hurry up and qualify for and receive incentives, have rushed into implementations that they were not fully prepared for? Are vendors accountable in some way for this as well? Could one go so far as to say that there’s a slight similarity to the mortgage industry of yore – with lenders qualifying homebuyers for loans that looked attractively priced at first, but later were found to be of a more predatory nature?

Please realize that I’m playing Devil’s Advocate here. As always, I’m interested in stirring up conversation and learning what the very intelligent people in this industry have to say. Do you think enthusiasm for Meaningful Use reached its fever pitch some time ago, and we are now experiencing some sort of backlash? Or am I just reading the wrong publications and blogs?

I’d like everyone to take a few days over the holiday weekend to think about this. Come back to the healthcare IT-mindset on Tuesday refreshed, not-too-sunburned, and ready to comment on what you think the general sentiment around Meaningful Use seems to be at this point.

Jennifer Dennard is Social Marketing Director for Atlanta-based Billian's HealthDATA and Porter Research.

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