Meaningful Use program loses 20% of attesting docs

The dropout rate for Meaningful Use has "soared" in the second year of the program, with a whopping 21 percent of family physicians who attested in 2011 failing to do so in 2012, according to a recent article in AAFP News Now, a publication of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

AAFP reports that in reviewing Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services attestation statistics, 23,636 family physicians became first-time attesters in 2012, a 180 percent increase from 2011. But of the 11,578 family physicians who attested in 2011, only 9,188 stuck with the program and attested in 2012.

The overall dropout rate among all physician specialties was 20 percent.

Possible reasons for the high dropout rate include the change in reporting period, which is only 90 days for the first year of participation, but a full 365 days for the second year. Some physicians may have also missed the two-month attestation window from Jan. 1 through Feb. 28, 2013, or received less support from the regional extension centers, which may be more focused on getting physicians to sign onto the program and attest for the first time.

The article suggested that physicians ease the attestation burden in the second year by staying on top of deadlines and continually monitoring their progress in meeting attestation goals.

The dropout rate isn't necessarily surprising, considering the increasing dissatisfaction by physicians with their EHR systems that has accompanied the corresponding rise in adoption. One recent survey found that almost 14 percent of physicians who attested in their first year did not plan on doing so the second year.

To learn more:
- read the article
- here are CMS' statistics