The Meaningful Use incentive program is the main driver for the increase of electronic health records by radiology therapy departments, according to a new study released by IMV Medical Information Division, a marketing research and consulting firm specializing in medical imaging. According to the study, two-thirds of radiology therapy sites have EHRs or complete patient records in their oncology information systems, an increase from just over 50 percent five years ago.
The study's authors also found that while the majority of sites have been using health information systems for years for billing and scheduling purposes, the incentive program has caused providers to integrate electronic patient records into their IT programs. IMV predicts this trend will continue, with nearly 80 percent of the planned upgrades or purchases of oncology information systems by radiation therapy providers incorporating EHR data, Lorna Young, senior director of market research at IMV, said in an announcement.
Radiology providers were not originally included in the incentive program and recently have recently been somewhat hesitant about participation.
However, as word spreads about the incentive payments, more radiologists appear willing to join the bandwagon. A recent SK&A study corroborates IMV's findings, reporting that radiology is one of the top five specialties embracing EHRs, with 62.8 percent of radiologists adopting them, up from 58.8 percent in July 2011.