The Deadline Approaches
Is Ben’s practice ready for the EHR deadline… or will he have to make more changes?
Does he have questions about meaningful use?
Ben and Carmen Wilson said goodbye to their friends at the door and walked arm in arm to their car.
“That was fun,” said Carmen. “It looked like you and Richard were having some intense conversation.”
“Shop talk,” said Ben, opening the car door for his wife. He walked around the car and slid into his own seat. “It was all about Meaningful Use.”
“Wow — I haven’t heard about that in a while,” said Carmen. “Wasn’t that what got you to change to electronic health records in your office?”
“That’s right. Back in 2009, there was a big push to make the switch to Meaningful Use of electronic health records, and I did. But at that point, there wasn’t a lot of clarity about what exactly would count as Meaningful Use. We knew the solutions we used would have to be certified, but the powers that be hadn’t certified anything at that point. And of course things have changed since then, both in technology and in our office.”
“Very true,” mused Carmen. “Our little boy wasn’t even born yet. Time flies when you’re having fun!”
“So why did that come up tonight?”
“Back in 2009, the goal was to get everyone to Meaningful Use of electronic health records in five years. Well, it’s been five years. October 1st is the deadline, and anyone who isn’t using an ONC-certified EHR by October 1st faces penalties.”
“But you’ve already done what you were supposed to do!” objected Carmen.
“Things have changed,” Ben repeated, pulling into their garage. He turned off the car and turned to Carmen. “I remember reading the New York Times that year that small practices like mine –”
“It was just you!” his wife broke in.
“Right. So making changes was pretty easy. Smaller practices were leading the way and the biggest organizations were putting significant funds into big five-year plans. But you know, something like 10 percent of doctors weren’t even online yet.”
Carmen slowly shook her head. “Hard to imagine now, isn’t it?”
“Very. Still, the deadline is approaching, so I need to make sure that what I did way back when meets the requirements now.”
“The babysitter is going to be wondering what we’re doing out here,” Carmen said, climbing out of the car. “It doesn’t sound like this is going to be a big problem.”
“No,” Ben agreed. “It’s just one more thing to think about.”
Is Ben’s practice in compliance… or will he have to make more changes?