After months of wondering how the term “Meaningful Use” would be defined we finally got some clarity yesterday when the Health IT Policy Committee, which advises the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, released a series of recommendations.
Or course, those recommendations released by the HIT Policy Committee are not the final word. They are just the product of a workgroup, and the committee’s discussion today made it clear that the provisions are subject to change and will be tweaked over the next couple of months, so the process will continue.
The Policy Committee states in the preamble to the report that “We recommend that the ultimate goal of meaningful use of an Electronic Health Record (EHR) is to enable significant and measurable improvements in population health through a transformed health care delivery system.” Hopefully we won’t need another committee to define “transformed delivery system” before moving forward.
The complete Matrix released by the HIT Policy Committee can be download, in PDF format, here.
After the committee adopts a definition, it will be submitted to CMS, which will put the definition through its formal rule making process. Even when that’s completed, probably by the end of the year, it will apply only to 2011 and 2012 requests for government subsidies. In 2013 and 2015, the requirements will be significantly expanded.