The final rule released last week "lays the groundwork for establishing a robust national health infrastructure that supports the adoption of [electronic health records] that can help providers practice safer and more productive medicine," said Tony Trenkle, director of CMS's Office of e-Health Standards and Services, who also testified.
Another one of the testifiers—Eugene Heslin, MD, a physician with a small family practice in Saugerties, NY—told the panel it was important that the federal government support meaningful use because primary care physicians see Medicare-age patients two to three times more often than younger patients. He said he expects the number of those complex patients to double.
"We have to develop efficiencies and logic systems that allow us to rationalize care—to care for our patients using more intelligent tools, more efficiently—and not ration care," Heslin said. "Meaningful use moves us in that direction."