SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Let's be honest, audits suck. They are time-consuming, eating up precious human and financial resources; they put your credibility on the line; and they create an adversarial relationship with the folks on the other side of the table.

Even as hospital C-suites grapple with the RAC program, along comes a different set of intensive audits aimed at meaningful use incentive payments.

CMS and the states have been ramping up their meaningful use audit programs, combing over hospital reports to ensure that the millions doled out in incentive payouts were justified.

I caught up with Pamela McNutt, senior vice president and CIO at Methodist Health System in Dallas, following her sunrise session Wednesday at the CHIME13 Fall Forum, to talk about what it takes to prepare for a meaningful use audit. Spoiler alert: It's a lot of work!

The conversations among CIOs gathered in the desert sun weren't just about public policy though. There was plenty of chatter about how technology can — really, must — be utilized to push hospitals and health systems toward value and accountable care. Rick Schooler, vice president and CIO at Orlando Health, gave an in-depth presentation yesterday on the critical role technology plays in managing population health. He made the case, in fact, that population health can't be done without robust technology systems.

That also came up in an interview I did with Albert Oriol, CIO at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego. Clinicians there are utilizing exciting new remote monitoring technologies to better understand behavior patterns of diabetic and asthmatic patients. Armed with that data, Oriol says, they hope to become more proactive in caring for those patients.