Meaningful Use or Bust

Growing numbers of doctors and hospitals say the deadline for meeting strict "meaningful use" standards set by the government for electronic health records is unrealistic. One man, though, is questioning whether the deadline is sufficiently ambitious.

Growing numbers of doctors and hospitals say the deadline for meeting strict "meaningful use" standards set by the government for electronic health records is unrealistic. One man, though, is questioning whether the deadline is ambitious enough.

That man is Dr. David Blumenthal, national coordinator for health information technology. Empowered to realize the administration's health reform agenda, Blumenthal is the only person in the debate who is brandishing a bull horn.

"The question ... is whether we are pushing too hard, too fast to make this important change," wrote Blumenthal this week on the ONC's "Health IT Buzz" blog. "I respectfully submit, 'no.' In turn, I ask, 'Can we make these changes expeditiously enough?'"

Advocacy groups are pushing the administration to ease up on the requirements, but "Blumenthal's tone does not sound hopeful to those who advocate streamlined meaningful use criteria," concluded Health Data Management.

"This is the time to realize the promise of health IT," exhorts Blumenthal. "If not now, when?"