CDC: Only 18% of office-based docs may meet Meaningful Use

The number of office-based physicians using electronic health records continues to rise, but only 18 percent of them may be eligible for Meaningful Use incentives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's latest National Health Statistics Report.

In 2012, 71.8 percent of office-based physicians were using any type of EHR system, according to the report, up from 34.5 percent in 2007. Almost one-fourth, 23.5 percent, had a system with features meeting the criteria of being "fully functional" in 2012, up from 3.8 percent in 2007.

There was also a difference in adoption of a fully functional system between physicians in practices of 11 or more doctors compared to solo practitioners; the gap between the two jumped from 10.4 percent in 2007 to 30.6 percent in 2012.

Perhaps most significantly, the list of features for even fully functional EHRs overlap with some but not all features needed for Meaningful Use. The report also warned that its 18 percent estimate may be a "maximum estimate" in that "some physicians counted in this measure may have an EHR system that does not support the remaining requirements necessary for payment."

A previous CDC report found that of the 65.5 percent of physicians intending to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid Meaningful Use incentive programs in 2012, only 26.9 percent had an EHR system with features that could support 13 of 15 Stage 1 Meaningful Use Core Set objectives.

The report mirrors other concerns about the Meaningful Use requirements as physicians move from Stage 1 to Stage 2 of the program and predictions that many providers will drop out rather than continue to participate.

To learn more:
- read the report

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