I would like to take a break from the Canadian market and take a look at an issue of great concern to US cousins. The US has announced a huge spending plan for US doctors to purchase EMR systems for their offices over the next few years. The issue getting the blogosphere excited is the term “Meaningful Use”.
I was reading a great post called “The Stimulus Bill and Meaningful Use of Qualified EHRs/EMRs” that describes the funding formula in the US as well as the “Meaningful Use” issue in great detail. The issue for those not interested in reading the whole post, is that in order to qualify for funding, “eligible providers must demonstrate use of a qualified EHR in a meaningful manner.”
What is of concern to me is that the secretary of Health and Human Services (HSS) has until January 2010 to define the criteria that makes up”Meaningful Manner/Use”. As Mike will attest I’m not a big fan of non-market solutions, but I cannot dispute the HSS right to put conditions on their funding…it is their money after all.
My big concern is the “market freeze” effect on the physicians and vendors in the US. I would find it hard to believe that the majority of US Physicians would run out and buy systems without knowing whether they will get some of it back from the government. As much as I feel for the vendors and the affect this will have one their short term sales, I worry that this delay will cause undue long-term confusion amongst the physicians and create new delays in getting this money out the door post January 2010.
What does everyone else think?