Health CIOs Shrink Meaningful Use Expectations

The percentage who expect to qualify for early stimulus funding has dropped by half since August, finds College of Health Information Management Executives survey.
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Results of the mid-November survey of some 191 CHIME members illustrate a variety of changes from the initial August 2010 survey, in which members indicated cautious optimism about their chances for achieving stimulus funding.

The vast majority of CIOs -- 82% -- report that they still continue to have concerns related to meeting Meaningful Use objectives and qualifying for stimulus funding. However, the nature of those concerns has shifted dramatically from three months ago.

For example, CIOs now report fewer uncertainties when it comes to certification of EHR systems than they did in August, when certification was rated as the chief concern by 25% of respondents. One possible explanation could be that authorized testing and certification bodies have worked quickly to certify complete EHR systems and modules in recent weeks, stated CHIME.

Following CPOE, reporting quality measures and "vendor readiness" were the issues most CIOs cited as causing greatest concern.

"I think one of my biggest concerns is the quality measures and how do we capture those in real time," agreed Christian. "We're kicking off a project looking at those quality measures and looking for our gaps in the clinical documentation so when we have to get to this thing I call 'push-button reporting,' we'll know that we're capturing that data appropriately and accurately."

Christian (a former radiology technician) said most CIOs who have come up through the traditional IT ranks may not understand how complex clinical quality reporting really is.

"I think that many people who have worked in the IT world for a long time don't really understand the nuances of how quality information is currently gathered and reported," he said, "They are just now having these conversations, they are in the meetings and trying to understand what's needed."

Despite all the pain, moving toward Meaningful Use has the upside of uncovering some troubling workflows and workarounds. For example, Christian has found different departments handling their quality reporting in manual ways he never imagined. "As we're walking through this, we're learning new things that I would have never thought we were doing."

Anthony Guerra is the founder and editor of, a site dedicated to serving the strategic information needs of healthcare CIOs. He can be reached at [email protected]

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