The acting administrator at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Andrew Slavitt, announced on January 11, 2016, that "The Meaningful Use program as it has existed will now effectively be over, and be replaced with something better". The announcement occurred at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco.
Meaningful Use is dead. Just like that.
As the Meaningful Use money making opportunities are ending, CMS is "moving to a new regime." “We have to get the hearts and minds of physicians back. I think we’ve lost them,” Mr. Slavitt said. He noted that, when the meaningful use incentive program began, few physicians and practices used electronic health records and concerns were that many would not willingly embrace information technology. Now that “virtually everywhere care is delivered has a computer,” it’s time to make health care technology serve beneficiaries and the physicians who serve them, Mr. Slavitt said.
The cost, however, was too high, Mr. Slavitt said.
Meaningful use was created by an act of Congress, and enshrined for posterity in a subsequent act of Congress, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA).
Soon, CMS will no longer reward health care providers for using technology, but will instead focus on patient outcomes through the merit-based incentive pay systems created by last year’s Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) legislation. In addition to asking physicians to work with health care IT innovators to create systems that work best according to their practice’s respective needs, CMS is calling on the private sector to create apps and analytic tools that will keep data secure while fostering true and widespread interoperability.
Meaningful Use is dead.
What’s coming next?
Paying physicians for outcomes.
It is the use of evidence-based medicine. It is interoperability and "user-centered" design. It is accountable care organizations, value, patient-centeredness, coordination and such. It is also the making of markets "by leveling the technology playing field for start-ups and new entrants."
The AMA is launching a "Silicon Valley integrated innovation company" to monetize its members in service to the new CMS regime. The AMA is a founding partner in the Silicon Valley (Calif.) based Health2047, a company focused on supporting health IT and other entrepreneurs in their efforts to provide physicians with digital tools that improve patient outcomes, among other innovations.
Central to the AMA’s plan for the future: Helping physicians restructure practice via technology. The goal of Health2047 is to leverage physicians' expertise to "help forge new paths and bring commercial solutions to market faster," and of course to make boatloads of money for investors, including the AMA.
After collectively sinking billions of dollars in certified EHR technology over the last 5 years, hospitals and doctors will now be expected to foot the bill for new software and computer products to support the lifestyles of a new generation of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and the insatiable greed of the old generation of Silicon Valley investors. Why?
Because the next app is sure to fix health care in America.
It's always the next one. There is always "something better" you can buy. Planned obsolescence, which is fueling the fortunes of Silicon Valley and destroying life everywhere else, has finally arrived to the $3 trillion health care sector.
Meaningful Use is not just about onerous burdens on physicians. It is also about regulating design and production of medical software to serve the needs and wants of government and large corporations.