Senate health committee Chairman: 'Fast and wrong' approach to EHRs 'does not help patients'

Meaningful use Stage 3 requirements should be phased in at a rate that reflects the success of the program's implementation, Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) told the committee Wednesday.

"Patients need an interoperable system that enables doctors and hospitals to share their EHRs, but the government, doctors and hospitals need time to do it right," Rep. Alexander said. "Some hospitals have told me they are 'terrified' by the prospect of Stage 3. It does not help patients to make these massive changes fast and wrong. It does help patients to do this deliberately and correctly so that hospitals and doctors embrace the changes instead of dread them."

Rep. Alexander recommended that the federal government move to adopt proposed changes to Stage 2 meaningful use requirements immediately and delay finalizing a rule for the next stage until 2017. Thus far, only about 12 percent of eligible physicians and 40 percent of hospitals have been able to meet the Stage 2 rules, according to Rep. Alexander.

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