Is this the post-EHR era? Are we now living in a post-EHR world? The general idea of this term is that we’ve come to a point where the industry-wide shift in the adoption of electronic health records has taken place, and now the focus can be on making much needed improvements to the health IT infrastructure that’s been implemented, like doubling down on efforts to improve interoperability.
This year at HIMSS 2016 in Las Vegas, you can be sure that the changing EHR landscape and the move away from Meaningful Use will be a hot topic of discussion. Other than hearing from a post-Super Bowl Peyton Manning, we're looking forward to gaining more insights from Secretary of Health and Human Services, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who's slated as a keynote speaker alongside CEO Michael Dell. The odds are better than a spin on the roulette wheel that both speakers touch on the subject of post-EHR/Meaningful Use. Burwell in particular might expand on the comments made by CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt at the J.P. Morgan Annual Health Care Conference on January 12th that, “The Meaningful Use program as it has existed, will now be effectively over and replaced with something better.”
Two days after Slavitt’s speech, thirty-one healthcare organizations sent a letter to Secretary Burwell calling for a formal end to Stage 3 of the Meaningful Use program, writing: “We recognize that the MU program has successfully driven the adoption of EHRs, with over 80 percent of hospitals and physicians now using these systems. We must now turn our attention to ensuring that all of the practices in our respective communities have high-functioning technology to achieve interoperability across all care settings.” Slavitt himself will be speaking on the second day of the conference alongside Karen DeSalvo, the Acting Assistant Secretary for Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in "A Special Session with ONC and CMS."
It seems the times they are a changing. This February, the International Data Corporation (IDC) put out a press release detailing the findings of their 2015–2016 Healthcare Provider Technology Spend Survey revealing: “that while 40% of providers reported their IT budgets are still growing, only 25% of providers with growing budgets attribute the growth to electronic health records (EHR), providing evidence that the post-EHR era is upon us as providers turn to optimizing the business for accountable care, adding analytics and care management, and away from massive enterprise EHR projects.” The survey finds that healthcare providers are taking more advantage of mobile and cloud-based solutions, and that "barriers to cloud adoption, primarily comfort levels with security and compliance, are clearly coming down."