The last few weeks have been a cluster-dance of activity in the e-patient community. Actually, pretty much any week is a fast dance in the participatory medicine world, given the drive toward healthcare reform in the US.
The loudest dance orchestra has tuned up around the controversy created when the American Hospital Association (AHA) posted its comments on the Phase 2 Meaningful Use (MU2) rules, which are part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), a/k/a healthcare reform or Obamacare, depending on what your preferred nomenclature is.
The bottom line: even though the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has made re-admissions to the hospital within 30 days after discharge a giant “we won’t pay you for that” red flag, the AHA stood up on its hind legs and said, regarding MU2, that they did not want to make records available to patients for 30 days post-discharge.
Which seems to mean that the AHA is either totally OK with not getting paid for a re-admission within those 30 days, or they’re trying to use a giant hammer to kill the adoption of electronic medical records technology.
A third explanation – and one that I think is actually what’s happening here – is that the last couple of years of massive IT deployment in healthcare has been really hard. And the policy wonks who wrote the comment for the AHA have little or no dealings with actual patients. Because anyone with a brain who works in healthcare knows that not empowering patients to manage their care is the best path to both bad outcomes and bankruptcy.
If you’d like to read all about the issue, you should start with