California docs using EHRs, but can't meet Meaningful Use

Physicians in California are embracing electronic health records, but not certified ones that would qualify for the Meaningful Use incentive program, according to a report recently prepared for the California HealthCare Foundation.

Seventy-one percent of the physicians surveyed used an EHR system in their main practice location. However, only 30 percent of those doctors could meet all 12 of the Meaningful Use objectives. Physicians in large practices, hospitals and urban areas were more likely to not only have an EHR, but to have one that met the Meaningful Use criteria.

The survey also found that there's a bit of a disconnect regarding the state's Medi-Cal incentive program. More than one-third of physicians (37 percent) plan to apply for the Medicare or Medi-Cal incentive program. However, more than half of physicians who are eligible for the Medi-Cal program because of their payor mix, practice setting or practice type either don't believe that they are eligible, don't plan to apply or need more information about the program. Eight percent of physicians ineligible for the Medi-Cal program plan to apply to it.

"The Medi-Cal incentive payments are well-targeted to increase Meaningful Use of EHRs," the authors noted.

The survey suggests that more education be provided regarding who is eligible for the incentive programs, and that more outreach be conducted.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is trying to increase the number of physicians registering and successfully attesting to Meaningful Use. In addition to the information on its website, it is working to educate physicians by providing information in blogs and physician-oriented publications, such as this guide published in May in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

To learn more:
- here's the report
- check out CMS' website on the incentive programs
- read the CMS guide posted in the Archives of Internal Medicine

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