Managed Care


A Lot Is Riding On ‘Meaningful Use’

MANAGED CARE February 2010. © MediMedia USA
Editor's Memo

A Lot Is Riding On ‘Meaningful Use’

John Marcille
MANAGED CARE February 2010. ©MediMedia USA

John Marcille

Meaningful use. It’s a simple term, but I hear it misused so often. Let’s be clear about it. Meaningful use is not the billions that the federal government is ploughing into health care information technology, nor is it the IT programs themselves. It isn’t the regulations (though in casual conversation, it’s a natural bit of shorthand.)

No. It’s simply the government’s criterion for subsidies that it will give providers who have obtained state-of-the-art IT systems and are actually using them to file claims, analyze patient populations, manage care, and so on.

It is the government’s carrot, and providers should be concerned about the stick: penalties if Medicare providers (and who isn’t?) don’t buy and use these systems to good effect.

This is a very big deal, and we have approached it in the issue in contributing editor John Carroll’s cover story, on page 12, which talks about how health plans will benefit, but also in contributing editor Martin Sipkoff’s look at whether the eventual system will be up to the tasks we set it, and whether providers can cope with it (page 24). In addition, I interviewed P. Jon White, MD, director of health care information technology at AHRQ, who has some important observations on how health plans have, in his view, been dragging their feet in offering incentives to providers similar to the federal incentives (page 41). Jackie Mazoway, RN, at PricewaterhouseCoopers talks about how health plans will be able to provide valuable data to physicians and other providers when we all have these electronic records and access to them (page 35), and this month’s Plan Watch column (page 53) explores the beneficial outcomes when Kaiser and the VA share electronic health records of patients enrolled in both systems.

And, oh yes, we’ve got plenty of pages this month devoted to important things that are not particularly related to “meaningful use.” Read on.


4th Partnering With ACOs Summit Los Angeles, CA October 27–28, 2014
PCMH & Shared Savings ACO Leadership Summit Nashville, TN November 3–4, 2014
2014 Annual HEDIS® and Star Ratings Symposium Nashville, TN November 3–4, 2014
Medicare Risk Adjustment, Revenue Management, & Star Ratings Fort Lauderdale, FL November 12–14, 2014
World Orphan Drug Congress Europe 2014 Brussels, Belgium November 12–14, 2014
Healthcare Chief Medical Officer Forum Alexandria, VA November 13–14, 2014
Home Care Leadership Summit Atlanta, GA November 17–18, 2014
HealthIMPACT Southeast Tampa, FL January 23, 2015