Physicians struggle to find adequate EHR capabilities
Many physicians interested in applying for the Medicare and Medicaid meaningful use programs are unable to meet the stage 1 objectives for electronic health records compliance, according to a new study published by Health Affairs. Of the 3,996 respondents, 51 percent intended to apply, but a mere 11 percent of those physicians met the EHR capability requirements. However, 43 percent indicated they plan to install new health records software within the next 18 months.
According to the study, the results indicate a much lower rate of eligibility than estimated by the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services, which anticipated a range of 10 to 47 percent overall between the two services. This discrepancy can be attributed to care providers missing just a few of the 11 core functions needed to meet meaningful use.
Many hospitals struggle to implement EHRs with the necessary function to meet the meaningful use requirements as well. According to another study published by Health Affairs, some of the most common shortcomings include the ability to implement drug-drug or drug-allergy checks, as well as the ability to provide patients with a copy of their records upon request. Almost half of the respondents were unable to generate quality measures - the most common missing function at 47 percent.
Most changes to EHR adoption among medical professionals and centers happened very shortly after the incentive program began in 2011, according to the study. In fact, almost 10,500 physicians received funds, totally $220 million from the Medicare and Medicaid meaningful use incentives. However, many more are still unable to meet the requirements.
While many different factors affect implementation rates, a primary one may simply be the complexity of the system. According to the study, younger care providers and those in more urban areas typically had higher rates of EHR use, while those in the rural South and over the age of 55 had the lowest percentage of adoption. EHRs provide an important solution to antiquated records practices in the medical industry, and healthcare professionals will need to find a health information management solution that is both easy to use and meets the core requirements of meaningful use in order to overcome these challenges.