In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb

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Lisa Fratt - 12.58 Kb
Lisa Fratt, Editor, Health Imaging

As I glance out the window to ponder the remnants of the Leap Year Blizzard that has slammed across the Midwest, the weather seems to reflect this season’s health IT storms.

Perhaps it started in January with the American Medical Association’s (AMA) call on Congress to halt the conversion to ICD-10. The AMA cited excessive costs of compliance amid other critical informatics priorities and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) blinked in mid-February, initiating the postponement process.

As imaging and informatics stakeholders ventured to Las Vegas Feb. 20-24 for the annual meeting of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), most anticipated the roar of meaningful use (MU) Stage 2.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT complied, with Farzad Mostashari, MD, national coordinator for health IT, providing a glimpse of the proposed rule on Feb. 22.

As the medical and health IT communities digest the 455-page Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), some signs indicate that the turbulence of the last several months may begin to subside, with a new relative calm replacing the storms.

While the move to ICD-10 is essential, a delay allows vendors and providers critical time to work through the details and establish a solid IT and training framework for the transition. It’s a definite plus.

And MU Stage 2 seems to be a bit more imaging-friendly than Stage 1. For starters, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are weighing the possibility of an exemption for providers, like radiologists, who lack control over the certified EHR technology at their practice locations.

Also of note, the CMS has proposed imaging-related measures, including the accessibility of imaging results through EHR technology and the use of computerized phyisician order entry for radiology orders.

None of the above is a panacea, but I am cautiously optimistic that these moves will help mitigate recent upheavals in imaging and usher in a less tempestuous era.

How is your practice navigating ICD-10 and MU? Please let us know.

Lisa Fratt, editor