Hyland@HIMSS12: Big gains for HIT over the last year

The news coming out of HIMSS12 is that HIT is moving forward. And it’s moving forward quickly.

It’s hard to believe that just two years ago, on Feb. 17, 2009, the HITECH Act was only just signed into law and “meaningful use” became the center of HIT. Unfortunately, no one knew what it meant yet. And when the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the final rule for Stage 1 criteria in July of 2010, it still felt like a big question mark for HIT. Certainly, incentive payments seemed a long way away.

 Two years later though, and HIT is in a much different place:

  •  HIMSS12 opened with HIMSS Chair Charlene Underwood noting that CMS has paid out $3.1 billion in meaningful use incentive payments ($519 million of it was in January alone)
  • Thursday’s keynote Farzad Mostashari, MD, national coordinator for HIT, stated that they’re on track for more than 100,000 providers a year to meet meaningful use criteria
  • More than 1,100 products are on the ONC’s certified health IT product list for ambulatory practices and more than 600 are on the list for inpatient practices

 Even more than that, when CMS released of Stage 2 criteria for the EHR meaningful use incentive program late in the week, the reaction was one of interest and anticipation instead of confusion and anxiety. While the proposed rules for Stage 1 threw the industry into tumult, Stage 2 feels like the continued evolution of a journey we’re already on.

 All of these point to the incredible amount of progress HIT has realized since the last HIMSS conference. As Mostashari said in his speech, “We’ve made more progress with EHRs in the past two years then we have in the last 20.”

 Certainly, there’s much work to be done and no one’s donning their rose-colored glasses and thinking it’s going to be easy. Now, though, the feeling is at least that it’s possible and achievable. We’re looking forward to seeing how much HIT has progressed at HIMSS13.

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