The regional extension centers (RECs) have enjoyed great success in helping enrolled providers implement electronic health records and attest to Meaningful Use, according to recent quick stats on the REC program posted by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.
Roughly four of five (78 percent) REC-enrolled primary care providers have demonstrated the Meaningful Use of certified EHR technology (CEHRT). Overall 95 percent are live on such a system. Chiropractors had the highest percent of those meeting Meaningful Use at 100 percent; 80 percent of primary care physicians had done so, as well.
All states had at least 50 percent of their REC-enrolled primary care providers attesting, according to ONC, with Kansas boasting the highest percentage, 98 percent; North Carolina had the lowest percentage at 61 percent.
Of the enrolled physicians, specialists lagged behind somewhat. For instance, while 84 percent of doctors in internal medicine had met Meaningful Use, only 72 percent of those who specialized in pediatrics or adolescent medicine had done so. Overall, only 47 percent of specialists had successfully attested to Meaningful Use.
Recent data for critical access and rural hospitals also is impressive, with 87 percent of REC enrolled hospitals demonstrating Meaningful Use. In some states, such as Nevada, the attestation rate was 100 percent. Only 12 percent of such hospitals had attested in Hawaii.
Overall, the REC program has met its goal of helping at least 100,000 priority primary care providers achieve Meaningful Use of their EHR.
While these numbers are positive, the data does not address how well the providers would continue to use their EHRs without REC assistance and whether the Meaningful Use program unintentionally increases care disparities. There also is concern that low-resource providers will not be able to maintain health IT without continued help.