Barely making the grade
Feds receive mixed marks on IT initiatives, annual survey shows
Many of the designers of the federal government’s health IT incentive programs have attended medical school, law school or graduate programs in business, public health and public administration. They’ve earned M.D.s, J.D.s, Ph.Ds, MBAs and MPHs.
But if they had to rely on grades from our readers for their performance as IT promoters, they wouldn’t be making the dean’s list this year.
Hospital and medical group leaders gave some pretty hard marks to government officials of all stripes in a new section this year to our 21st annual Modern Healthcare/Modern
Physician Survey of Executive Opinions on Key Information Technology Issues.
We asked two questions about government performance, requesting readers to issue for each a standard letter grade of A through F.
When the marks came in, we converted them to numbers and calculated grade-point averages on both questions, then created our own “report cards” for both.
The first, broader question was: “What grade would you give the federal government (including the White House, Congress, the CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology) for crafting an overall federal initiative to promote the use of health information technology?”
The second, more specific question asked: “What grade would you give the CMS and the ONC for their performance thus far in developing meaningful-use criteria that at the same time stretch goals and are attainable?”
On average, readers gave government officials a solid C on both questions. A C was the median grade on both questions as well, although hospital leaders were a tad more generous in their marks.
On the broader question, hospital leaders gave the government roughly as many B’s as C’s, although there were enough D’s and a few F’s to drop the broader government’s GPA into the C range. Their peers, leaders in medical groups, were far stingier—giving the government marks on both questions roughly half a letter grade lower than their hospital counterparts.
Across the board, hospital executives and medical group leaders cut the government a bit more slack for “originality” in crafting the electronic health-record programs under the stimulus law enacted in 2009.
Both groups gave lower grades to the CMS and the ONC in fashioning and setting the height of the hoops providers must jump through to achieve meaningful use of an EHR and get paid under the Medicare portion of the program.
Group practice leaders were particularly tough on the CMS and the ONC in that regard, with 86% of those surveyed dishing out grades of C or lower, yielding a GPA of