Meaningful Use, Schmeaningful Use

MU-Hot-seatI can hardly think of a greater misnomer than "Meaningful Use". The most frequent pain-point Ophthalmologists and Ophthalmic Practice Administrators and staff express to me is the onerous requirements for meeting Meaningful Use.  So much so, that I personally know of administrators and physicians who are leaving the field all together. Is that what CMS had in mind when it formulated Meaningful Use?

CMS's purported goal of "Meaningful Use" is to improve quality and safety of care including these key areas:   Protect electronic health information,  e-Prescribing ,  Clinical decision support,  Computerized provider order entry, Patient electronic access to their data, Coordination of care through patient engagement,  Health information exchange and  Public health reporting.

The problem with Meaningful Use is that due to the absurd amount of effort required to comply with these measures, Meaningful Use may not improve patent care, it may actually detract from it.  The time and resources which must be invested in meeting these government imposed guidelines could be better spent on actually providing the quality patient care.

The greatest frustration is to those who entered the medical field with the noble cause of helping to heal. When the reality of the incredible burden CMS has placed on them sets in, there is frequently a state of despair, frustration and the feeling of helplessness.  After all, who can fight City Hall?

I do not know what the answers are. They are bigger than I, but something must change. I believe these government mandates which unfortunately, have become the focus of our practices will go down in history as a turning point and one of the greatest failures in the history of medicine.