CIOs don't expect to qualify early for EHR funds

Hospital chief information officers (CIOs) appear to be optimistic about eventually qualifying for electronic health records (EHRs) stimulus money. However, many of those CIOs do not anticipate qualifying for those incentives any time soon, according to the third and latest survey from the College of Health Information Management Executives (CHIME).

The rate of CEOs (33 percent) who expect their organizations to successfully meet Meaningful Use provisions within the first year of the program (which ends Sept. 30, 2011) has remained consistent. However, only 7.5 percent of respondents said they expected to qualify for funding by April 1, 2011--the earliest date that hospitals can attest to demonstrating Meaningful Use. This compares with 15 percent answering in the November survey and 28 percent responding in August.

Many of the CIOs surveyed said they had not even registered for the federal program--a first step in declaring readiness to participate and demonstrate the Meaningful Use of electronic health records. Just under 20 percent of CIOs at standalone hospitals and under 30 percent of CIOs at multi-hospital systems say their organizations have registered their hospitals.

For community hospitals, only 26 percent of CIO respondents said that they expected to qualify for stimulus funding during the first year of the program--indicating they will need far more time to qualify. Nearly two-thirds of CIOs with community hospitals said they hoped to qualify in late fiscal 2012 and 2013.

"The survey shows that as CIOs begin implementing EHRs to meet the Meaningful Use targets required to get stimulus funding, they are finding quite a bit of 'devil is in the details' as they move along the process, said Pamela McNutt, senior vice president and CIO at Methodist Health System in Dallas, and chair of CHIME's policy steering committee, in a statement.

For more details:
- see the CHIME release
- here's the survey (.pdf)
- view the DOTmed article