Will the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' regulations for the "meaningful use" of electronic medical records lead to widespread adoption of the technology? Is the agency's final rule too restrictive, preventing doctors and hospitals from qualifying for government grants? Or is it too permissive, allowing providers to receive federal funds without making significant changes to how they process patient information?
When she introduced the regulations, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the new rule made the goal of widespread electronic record adoption a reality, and CMS said adjustments between the interim and final rules gave providers "greater flexibility" in how they use the technology. But stakeholders were cautious, with the American Medical Association withholding judgment until further review and the American Hospital Association warning that incentives may still be out of reach for many American hospitals.