Moreover, Brazell said, "a lot of people jumped in because they knew that the sand in the hourglass was running out, so they [were] slamming systems in, [and] probably didn't do the right transformation or process change, and now are going, 'okay, we got those first payments, but now we realize we should have done this a little bit differently.'"
Noting that some large organizations are acquiring multiple smaller organizations, Branzell characterizes the work underway as "not multiplicative work, but rather exponential increases in work, because each one of those small systems are pretty tough to convert. I've talked to CIOs all over the country, and that's probably one of their major pain points right now.. the ambulatory conversion factor that they're having to address."
While we try to determine just how much money might have been wasted by these multiple EHR implementations, Branzell said most organizations have not yet begun their work on meaningful use stage 2. How could they? Only a handful of certified EHRs for stage 2 are yet available. In just seven short weeks, providers are supposed to be implementing. It's starting to look like a calamity.
But perhaps we should keep our eyes on the horizon, no matter how rough the trip. One encouraging sign is that CMS is starting to consider making health information exchange part of the criteria for Medicare payment.