The “Meaningful Use” Wakeup Call

The essence of “Meaningful Use” (MU) is a move to Electronic Medical/Electronic Health Records. The goals are laudable, the qualification criteria are minimal, and financial incentives are available.

The problem is with Return on Investment (ROI) – the outflows exceed the inflows and the benefits in terms of increased staff efficiency, increased patient throughput, decreased admin/clinical errors and compliance with internal/external rules and regulations are, well, minimal.

Would you reasonably expect otherwise?

The facts are many of the MU software ‘solutions’ you see on the market today are “quick fix” adaptations of traditional data capture/reporting software systems. You may be able to qualify for MU but you won’t begin to get the benefits detailed above.

Simply stated, retrofits of traditional data capture/reporting software to meet MU criteria will give you no more than minimal improvements.

Since the average healthcare agency does not have the internal resources to differentiate between what is on the market and since senior management in many cases is not amenable to the hiring of outside consultants to assist in the evaluation/selection of software, the inevitable occurs – the agency gets caught up in a “revolving door” scenario where new software is selected every three years as the agency discovers that what was described as a ‘solution’ falls short of expectations.

If we back off from a singular focus on meeting MU criteria, it becomes obvious that the keys to productivity improvement (a superset of MU) need not be re-invented for healthcare.

Methodologies such as Business Process Management and Adaptive/Dynamic Case Management (ACM/DCM) have been around for years and have a proven track record for yielding the benefits detailed above.

The obvious simple solution is to look for software suites that have a foundation in BPM/ACM/DCM.


Management consultant and process control engineer (MSc EE) with a focus on bridging the gap between operations and strategy in the areas of critical infrastructure protection, major crimes case management, healthcare services delivery, and b2b/b2c/b2d transactions. (C) 2010-2021 Karl Walter Keirstead, P. Eng. All rights reserved. The opinions expressed here are those of the author, and are not connected with Jay-Kell Technologies Inc, Civerex Systems Inc. (Canada), Civerex Systems Inc. (USA) or CvX Productions Number of accessing countries 2010-2020 : 168
This entry was posted in Adaptive Case Management, Business Process Management, FIXING HEALTHCARE, Productivity Improvement and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The “Meaningful Use” Wakeup Call

  1. What if MU wasn’t just a “quick fix”? What about in Private Medical Practices, when overhead is reduced altogether? Imagine the impact of providing patients with all of their medical record access from the beginning!


    • Exactly. . . the real benefit of EMRs is to manage everything from the 1st phone call through discharge. Current US law requires that all of the iinformation that is in a patient EMR be made available to a patient upon request and an acceptable environment for viewing such information is a PHR.


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