The administration's health information technology czar on Tuesday told a House panel that providers would be held to much tougher standards in the coming years over the adoption and use of electronic health records.
“We have every intent in the next rule-making, in 2013, to require much more robust exchange as a feature of meaningful use,” David Blumenthal, HHS' national coordinator for health IT, told members of the Ways and Means Committee's health subcommittee.
Blumenthal said the meaningful-use criteria allow for several stages of EHR adoption by providers, with each step more demanding than the last. “The fact is, we are going to make substantially higher demands of providers in the future,” he said.
Republican members pressed Blumenthal and Tony Trenkle, director of the Office of E-Health Standards and Services at the CMS, on changes made between the final rule and a proposed one that they say tempered the final regulation.
“The new HIT regulations are a step in the right direction and should put Medicare on a path to improved quality and efficiency,” said Rep. Wally Herger of California, the senior Republican on the committee. “However, by watering down the final regulations, we have missed an opportunity to advance healthcare delivery and ensure wise use of taxpayer money.”