ONC: RECs play a major role in nurse practitioner EHR adoption

Regional extension centers have been instrumental in helping nurse practitioners and physician assistants implement electronic health records and achieve Meaningful Use, according to a data brief published this week by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.

The brief notes that NPs and PAs are the fastest growing provider segments in primary care, calling them a "crucial part" of the nation's healthcare safety net. RECs prioritize their support to primary care providers, according to the data brief. Some of the progress outlined includes:

  • Four in five NPs and PAs enrolled with a REC now are "live" with an EHR
  • RECs are working with half of all primary care NPs, and 44 percent of primary care PAs nationwide
  • More than three-fourths of primary care NPs and 63 percent of primary care PAs in Health Profession Shortage Areas are receiving REC help
  • NPs and PAs participating in a REC are more likely to meet the requirements of the Medicare and Medicaid incentive programs 

The brief also notes that that even though at least 53 percent of PAs and 22 percent of NPs partnered with a REC are not eligible for incentive payments, more than 2,000 have demonstrated Meaningful Use with REC assistance.

"[T]hese providers' high rate of REC participation and EHR adoption indicate their commitment to providing better and more comprehensive patient care through EHRs and meaningful use," the brief's authors write. 

To learn more:
- read the data brief (.pdf)