Radiologists "would be wise" to study and respond to the government's incentive programs related to the Meaningful Use of certified ambulatory electronic health record systems, considering that more than 90 percent could qualify for the bonus payments, according to a new article in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.
The article, published in the September issue of JACR, acknowledges that many radiologists are confused about the incentive payment program and feel "left out." However, that perception is incorrect; a radiologist can earn up to $44,000 a year in bonus payments over the next five years, so long as more than 10 percent of services are performed in an outpatient setting, according to the article's authors. Overall, the authors determine, Meaningful Use incentive payments for radiologists could add up to roughly $1.5 billion, collectively.
In addition to the incentive payments, meeting the meaningful use requirements could help radiologists provide better care, as interoperability requirements should give them more critical clinical information about their patients, such as the patient's medications and allergies. Meaningful Use also can improve medical imaging billing performance and reimbursement, which often is tied to better documentation of clinical indications, not the "rule out pneumonia" type indications that radiologists frequently receive.