Meaningful Use and the lessons for Canada

For anyone following the developments in the US, the evolution of the debate surrounding “meaningful use” has been rather interesting. To receive portions of the ARRA stimulus for buying an EMR, US  doctors have to be able to  show “meaningful use“.  What I find interesting about this process is not in the ultimate minutiae of the definition but in the process and scale.

In the US market to receive funding on a national level (ie selling EMRs to docs in Florida or North Dakota) a vendor must show enough of product functionality to meet meaningful use.  I think the national focus is a smart move, especially in combination with the whole process of how meaningful use has been defined. It was not proscriptive at the start of the process, instead it was (and is) defined as time goes on, and input is received from all of the national stakeholders. This avoids state level fragmentation of standards, and gets all the key stakeholders going in roughly the same direction. I think that these two aspects of their program will serve the US well.

How does/did this differ from the process in Canada?

Will this national focus and definition process allow the US to blow by Canada as far as adoption rates for EMRs?

If the US model is “better” what can lessons can be applied in Canada, or is it too late?


One response to “Meaningful Use and the lessons for Canada

  1. I think that there are several lessons:

    – The US is engaged in a very open process to define “meaningful use”. I think that this process could be as important as the outcome if the key stakeholders felt that their input was considered.

    – It appears that “meaningful use” will be phase in, starting with simply getting an EMR installed and moving towards a focus on outcomes. Ultimately I think it is the outcomes, not the technology, that are most important.

    – Having a single national perspective on “meaningful use” will have significant implications for all involved, particularly the vendors. They will be able to focus product development efforts on a very large potential market, thereby amortizing the R&D expenses over many installations.


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