(HealthDay News) — The American Medical Association (AMA) and American Hospital Association (AHA) are calling for additional flexibility in the timing of the adoption of stage 2 meaningful use of electronic health records, according to a letter written to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Noting that many stakeholders, including the vendors designing the systems, are not ready to move to meaningful use stage 2, the AMA and AHA call on the HHS to realign the current requirements to ensure an orderly transition to stage 2.

An estimated 500,000 hospitals and physicians who met requirements for stage 1 should be moving to stage 2, with hospitals beginning adoption on Oct. 1, 2013, and physicians following on Jan. 1, 2014. However, as of July 17, only 11 electronic health record products designed for physician’s offices had completed 2014 certification requirements for stage 2, although about 1,300 products had been certified as meeting stage-1 requirements. The AMA and AHA express concern that the upsurge in electronic health record users will drive the prices of systems and consulting up, and that providers, especially small and rural ones, will be left behind.


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“We also share the administration’s commitment that no providers — or the patients they serve — are left behind as we proceed to Stage 2,” the authors of the letter write. “However, our members, and the vendors they work with, report growing concerns that the rapidly approaching start date for stage 2 is on a trajectory that will not provide enough time or adequate flexibility for a safe and orderly transition unless certain changes are made.”

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