Meaningful Use Push for Rural Hospitals is On

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , October 3, 2012

Even with the call to accelerate meaningful use implementation in rural areas, Worzala notes that many critical access hospitals will still find it challenging getting HIT vendors to "pay attention" to their needs.

"Of course rural hospitals are not the largest clients and we are very much in a situation where demand outstretches supply for vendor solutions," she says.   

Burgess says TVHD ran into a string of problems with the HIT vendor they'd contracted.

"We ended up debugging a lot of their software. That was very frustrating for the staff. We are still working out the issues. It is a continuous process of improvement but we are getting there," he says.  

"With that incentive money, so many hospitals have contracted and gone out and tried to make it work that we have overwhelmed the industry to the point that industry is no longer capable of providing the level of support that I want, need, and expected with an installation startup and training for a new system."

As for whether or not ONC can reach its goal of meaningful use attestation for 1,000 rural hospitals by 2014, Missourian Slabach tempered his optimism with Show Me State skepticism.

"That would be yet to be seen," he says. "But we do have to have a goal and concentrating everyone's efforts toward those goals and seeing what policy levers we need to change in order to accelerate this migration is important."

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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