Government Walks Fine Line on HIT Regulation

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media , October 16, 2012

In response, HIMSS counters that "significant progress" has been made in EHR adoption because of the incentives, and rejects the call for suspension of payments.

Now to be sure, there is some disturbing evidence that EHR adoption is actually causing increasing costs to Medicare. A recent New York Times investigation just validates concerns that this system could be gamed by unscrupulous providers, just as earlier government programs were able to be gamed.

But Farzad Mostashari, MD, national coordinator for health information technology at HHS, has demonstrated the diminishing returns of heavy-handed government meddling on solving our healthcare IT problems. Mostashari is fond of describing government regulation of healthcare as a "blunt instrument."

During an ONC town hall meeting at last week's Health 2.0 conference in San Francisco, the president of a software company complained that EHRs that certify their parts only as a complete suite of products, rather than module by module, were freezing out best-of-breed solutions from the marketplace. Mostashari acknowledged that particularly in ambulatory settings, this kind of market abuse is occurring.

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