Now that the HIT Policy Committee Meaningful Use workgroup’s Stage 2 recommendations have been released for public comment (due February 25th), I and probably hundreds of others will give it a careful review and offer public comments. I know that a lot of thought and balancing of considerations from public testimony has already gone into it. The “philosophical basis” – the “why” not just the “what” -- of MU is fundamental to what is included and how it is specified. I hope to look for what lies behind the objectives. Some of this comes out in the workgroup’s meetings (which, along with the HIT Policy Committee meetings, are open to the public, so I encourage you to participate). However, the “intent” behind proposals is not always evident in the documents themselves, and readers who didn’t listen to the meetings might not be able to read between the lines to understand what outcomes the workgroup is striving for. Presentations from prior meetings can help explain the guiding principles more than just reading the proposed objectives. I believe it really is about better health outcomes for all of us, including the currently disadvantaged.
In the meantime before I’ve analyzed the recommendations, what should I blog about? I’m humbled by the consistency with which other bloggers manage to write daily (I wish…!) since it’s hard for me to find time, let alone good ideas, to share daily. In that regard, my son Dan sets a high bar for consistency as he writes his blog, The Philosopher Developer, almost daily. Similar to my combining thoughts on HIT and music, he combines his vocation (programming) and his avocation (philosophy/thinking). While it’s tempting for me to say “like father, like son,” Dan started his blog a year before I did, so I should say “like son, like father!” His January 15th post on “Resolution: the need for a terminating condition” is sound advice to us all as we engage in discussion and debate about the right path forward in HIT, health reform, family issues, or anything else, such as the Arizona Tragedy. Hopefully, there can be a harmonious environment and humble attitude framing our discussions, even when we disagree.
Back to Health IT. It’s clear that increasing patient engagement in health is one of the main drivers for Stage 2 and 3. I look forward to the day, not too far away, when I’ll ask each of my healthcare providers, as meaningful users, to share information with me as a patient or possibly a caregiver, per the regulations (electronic copy, access, download, secure messaging) or beyond that if they can. My HIT work won’t be a compartment that I leave behind at the office, but a reality every time my family or I interact with the healthcare system. Like it not, that’s likely to be more and more often for me for the rest of my life.