A new study published in Health Affairs finds that while 91 percent of physicians were eligible for Medicare of Medicare Meaningful Use programs, but only 11 percent of those intending to apply are in a position to take advantage of this incentive. This is irrespective of what kind of EHR they use; web based EMR or client server EMR.
Drilling down a bit more, the study says only 11 percent of those intending to apply had enough EHR capabilities to support up to two-thirds of Medicare’s Stage 1 core objectives. This means their EMR system probably does not have the necessary capabilities. Normally Complete EHR systems that are certified should be preferred. If they are web based EMR systems, or Cloud EMR or SaaS EMR, they have a better chance of having these capabilities, because it is not up to the physician to make sure their EMR system is up to date. The web based EMR system is automatically updated with the latest capabilities to ensure compliance.
“During 2011, the first year of the incentive programs, almost 124,000 eligible professionals, including physicians, had registered for Medicare incentives, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services had paid nearly $275 million to 15,000 participants,” study authors say. “Medicaid meaningful use incentives, which flow through states, totaled about $220 million and went to approximately 10,500 physicians.”
“Nonetheless,” authors continue, “our results show that a great discrepancy exists between physicians’ intentions to apply for incentives and their readiness to meet even two-thirds of the core objectives for meaningful use. The 85 percent of physicians likely to be eligible for Medicare incentives face more pressure to meet the criteria.”
The study results show that physicians may be planning to rapidly buy new EHRs with the required capabilities, authors conclude. “Of those intending to apply but not ready, 43 percent reported plans to install a new electronic health record system within the next 18 months.”