Announcement of less stringent requirements expected at HIMSS conference

More relaxed meaningful use accreditation guidelines are among the announcements expected at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference in Las Vegas, reports Information Week.

Stephen Lieber, chief executive officer of the HIMSS, told the news source that he expects the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to be more lenient in their attestation frameworks for demonstrating stage two meaningful use criteria of medical informatics systems usage.

“It’s been a tremendous challenge for hospitals and physician practices to reach stage one, and what I am expecting is that the somewhat lower level of registration and qualification for stage one payments is going to influence stage two,” said Lieber, as quoted by the news source. “It’s still going to be a big challenge. It has to follow a progression here that the bar is going to be raised. I’m just thinking that it might be raised a little bit less than it otherwise would’ve been.”

Lieber’s comments follow research conducted by the HIMSS into the readiness of many healthcare providers to demonstrate stage two usage of clinical informatics systems. According to data from the HIMSS, just 9 percent of hospitals were capable of demonstrating all 14 core usage criteria and five of the 10 menu items required for stage one certification.

Despite potential barriers such as investment financing and interoperability issues, adoption of medical informatics systems has seen substantial growth in recent years. MedPageToday reports that, according to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the percentage of U.S. hospitals and care facilities implementing clinical informatics technology increased from 16 to 35 percent between 2009 and 2011. Approximately 85 percent of eligible hospitals plan to take advantage of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ meaningful use federal financial incentive program this year.

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