David Blumenthal, the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS, said planners developing Stage 2 meaningful-use criteria under the federal electronic health-record incentive program will have slightly more strategic-thinking time than they had in creating Stage 1 criteria.
"We're mindful of the fact that the first go-round was very rushed,” Blumenthal told members of the federally chartered Health IT Policy Committee.
Working under such tight deadlines "didn't allow for careful forward planning," Blumenthal said. "I want to do better this time."
To qualify for federal EHR incentive payments, providers must use EHRs in a "meaningful manner," meeting criteria that the ONC and the CMS set after receiving recommendations from the committee. Oct. 1 was the start date for hospitals for the first payment year of the incentive program; the Stage 1 criteria are good for two years. For physicians, the clock starts running Jan. 1, 2011.
Just 20 months have passed since the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 became law. The Health IT Policy Committee, which was created in May 2009 to advise ONC on IT matters, met for the 17th time Wednesday. In the intervening period, Blumenthal said, the government, with help and counsel from the committee, created the entire EHR meaningful-use incentive program from scratch.