Docs working with regional extension centers attest to MU obstacles

Nearly three-fourths (74 percent) of physicians working with regional extension centers (RECs) to attest to the Meaningful Use of their electronic health records have encountered problems in doing so, according to the RECs that have reported the issue to U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC). The findings are part of a preliminary analysis of 4,100 records collected since November, presented to ONC's HIT Policy Committee Feb. 7, according to an article in Government Health IT.

Some practices reported multiple obstacles, noted ONC staffer Dawn Heisey-Grove, who presented the analysis. For instance, the biggest barrier to Meaningful Use thus far involved vendors. Of the 47 percent of practices that reported internal barriers to attestation, 34 percent relayed that their biggest problem was selecting a vendor. "It's an over-abundance of choices," Heisey-Grove explained.

More than one-third of practices (39 percent) reported that their EHR vendor was the obstacle "holding practices back," Heisey-Grove said. Thirty-two percent were still waiting for upgrades from their vendor so they could meet the Meaningful Use measures and/or attest; 16 percent told the RECs that required reports were slow or unavailable.

Another 14 percent of physicians noted that they were encountering technical problems with their vendors; 12 percent had EHRs that weren't yet certified for Meaningful Use. Other vendor problems included delays in installation, lack of support and inadequate training.

The data also indicated that many practices had opted to switch EHR vendors.

"They were not happy and just decided to change out [their vendor]," Heisey-Grove said.  She did not indicate whether the change contributed to, or decreased the obstacles.

To learn more:
- listen to the Heisey-Grove's presentation
- review the presentation slides (.pdf)
- check out this Government Health IT article