Industry Update as of May 2016:

In the past, Medicare measured the value and quality of doctors’ and clinicians’ care provision through a variety of programs and reporting mechanisms such as Accountable Care Organizations, the Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative, the Medicare Shared Savings Program, the Physician Quality Reporting System, the Value Modifier Program, and the Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program. Congress then streamlined these into a single framework to help clinicians transition from payments based on volume to payments based on value. A new rule now will implement these changes through a unified framework, the Quality Payment Program. Read more here.

I believe the HITECH Act and Meaningful Use give us expediency at the cost of innovation, but given the urgent need to build out electronic medical record (EMR) infrastructure they are necessary evils.

That said, the focus on technology adoption commoditized EMRs by driving faster deployments, rather than rewarding product innovation and providing financial incentives for improved quality of care.

By enabling healthcare providers to access EMRs securely anytime anywhere, Citrix has played a significant role in their compliance with Meaningful Use and HITECH requirements.

For example, 88% of Epic users in the US use Citrix solutions to access their EMRs. Based on what I learned from a January conference about the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) and new developments coming in the industry in 2016, the future of Meaningful Use in its current form is questionable. The value Citrix brings to healthcare entities in delivering a high degree of patient value, however, will remain consistent. Here is the backstory: 

At the JPMorgan Chase Healthcare Conference in early January, Andy Slavitt, the Acting Administrator of CMS, provided a bleak prognosis for Meaningful Use, saying that the program would be replaced in 2016.  Healthcare CIOs across the nation cheered, but were skeptical about what comes next.  Slavitt remarked, “The Medicare Access & CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), with its emphasis on a new Merit-Based Incentive Payment System and alternative payment models, demands a new streamlined regulatory approach.

Yet Karen Desalvo, National Coordinator for HIT, warned that changes take time and Meaningful Use is still the law of the land.  At the same time, 31 of the largest US healthcare systems, including Partners Health, Geisinger, Henry Ford and Intermountain Health called for the end of Meaningful Use—claiming that it had achieved its goal of 80% adoption of EMRs by hospitals and physicians.  They argued that it is time to move from focusing on technology to improving care.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has promised to have the new regulations ready for review this spring, but there is no indication it will capitulate and terminate Meaningful Use anytime soon.

Regardless of the outcome, the shift from technology adoption to improving care will still place Citrix at the forefront in the industry. Citrix will continue to work with its healthcare customers to extend the same level of security and accessibility to other use cases, including remote care, telehealth, patient engagement, PACs image viewing and care coordination.

With this new focus on clinical outcomes, the providers will be highly incentivized to drive patient care innovation in the hospital, clinic and home using multiple tools including technology. By bringing efficiency to healthcare processes through enabling technology, Citrix will also continue to enable clinicians and healthcare professionals to spend more time on the all-important core competency of delivering superior care.

MACRA looks like a winning combination of merit-based compensation incentives and less oversight by CMS.  Providers will be empowered and compensated for innovation and delivering improved patient care.  Thus, Citrix will continue to be a valuable partner with its healthcare customers as they shift to a more value-based model.

For more information on how Citrix empowers secure mobility in healthcare, click here., or on Citrix Security and Compliance technology, click here.

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*If you are in the healthcare industry, we invite you to begin a dialogue with us. You can share your thoughts on the topics in this blog or any other healthcare IT issue with a Citrix researcher by clicking here.

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