CHIME Time: Hitting the wall on meaningful use

Edith Dees | Modern Healthcare | June 3, 2014

Change and challenges are a way of life in healthcare. Holy Spirit Health System, Camp Hill, Pa., which just celebrated 50 years of service to our community a year ago, signed a letter of intent last October to affiliate with another central Pennsylvania system, Geisinger Health System—we're deep into the due-diligence process now. For the past two quarters, our system has experienced an anticipated decline in inpatient admissions, significant enough to precipitate changes in staffing and budget models.
However, these recent events pale compared with the energy and attention we're giving to achieve Stage 2 meaningful-use incentives for electronic health-record systems. We are discovering vendor interoperability issues daily.

Like most community-based systems, our organization has one EHR vendor for the hospital, another for primary care and a third for a specialty practice. We want to provide a single portal rather than three separate portals from each vendor, so we selected a health information exchange solution that has both provider and patient portals. Unfortunately, we actually may hit the wall with Stage 2. This is despite years of due diligence selecting the right vendors, hiring the right talent, building out space to accommodate talent and technology, maintaining competitive salaries, and honing processes and methodologies to respond quickly to project demands.

As we resolve one vendor issue, we identify another. That prompts a debate between certified vendors on which owns the interoperability problem and the concern that software customization may adversely affect certification status or introduce unintended consequences. Of the larger vendor issues we've identified so far: One vendor requires a specific operating system version (not standard to the corporation) to support its certified software...