Healthcare News & Insights

Study: Just 11% of doctors are prepared to meet meaningful use requirements

Physicians are struggling to meet meaningful use requirements for EHR incentive payments – and it’s only going to get more difficult with Stage 2 Meaningful Use, experts warn.  

More than half (51%) of physicians say they plan to apply for federal incentive payments for adopting electronic health records (EHRs), according to a recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.

But if they do apply, many will likely get some bad news. Among the 4,000 office-based physicians surveyed, only 11% had installed an EHR system that would meet 10 out of 15 core objectives required to pass Stage 1 meaningful use.

Readiness may be improving, though — 43% of the doctors that intended to apply for incentives but were not ready technologically said they plan to install a new EHR system at some point within the next 18 months.

Another study, released earlier this year by Deloitte, found that just 25% of physicians were on track to meet meaningful use requirements.

What can doctors and organizations do to make sure they’re not missing out on EHR incentive payments? The biggest thing experts recommend is carefully selecting an EHR system. It’s tempting to rush into a decision, but it’s important to make sure the system will meet the organization’s needs as well as meaningful use requirements.

Meanwhile, the federal government is getting ready to finalize the requirements for Stage 2 Meaningful Use. And if the proposed rule becomes final, some experts say, physicians and hospitals will struggle even more to qualify for incentives.

For example, the American Hospital Association (AHA) recently sent 68 pages of comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) arguing that the proposed rules for Stage 2 Meaningful Use ask too much of providers.

As a whole, the AHA said, the requirements raise the bar too high and aren’t feasible for most hospitals to achieve. As the comments point out, just 20% of hospitals have even met the Stage 1 requirements, and the new objectives are significantly more difficult. The group is especially concerned because hospitals will start to be penalized in 2015 if they aren’t achieving meaningful use of EHRs by then.

To learn more, download the AHA’s letter here. CMS is currently accepting comments on the Stage 2 proposal before a final rule is issued. We’ll keep you posted.

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