Study: Not all EHR users intend to attest to MU; private payers can help

While many providers who have adopted electronic health records have or eventually will attest to Stage 1 of Meaningful Use, more than a third (39 percent) have no plans to do so.

That's the upshot of a study from IVANS, a national health information exchange based in Stamford, Conn. While 42 percent of the providers using an EHR have attested to Stage 1 of Meaningful Use, and another 17 percent plan to do so within the next 12 months, the 39 percent indicated that budgetary concerns and continually changing technological requirements prevented them from sharing information. The study noted that if those issues are not resolved, it will be difficult for many providers to be meaningful users of their EHRs.

"These findings reinforce the point that it is not enough to simply have an EHR or EMR system in place, but providers must be able to share and use the information in a manner that is considered meaningful as defined by the government," the researchers said.

The survey suggested that one way to facilitate the implementation of Meaningful Use is for more private payers to align their pay-for-performance programs with the Meaningful Use requirements, although it is not yet established if doing so will result in higher reimbursement for the participating providers.

A growing number of private payers--including Aetna, UnitedHealthcare and WellPoint--have added the Meaningful Use requirements to their pay-for-performance programs. For instance, Highmark modified its "Quality Blue" programs to include Meaningful Use and align with the CMS requirements.

"We require our hospital and physician participants to provide us with a copy of their ... attestation," Highmark spokesperson Leilyn Perri told FierceEMR. "In addition, for our physician program, we are incorporating the [Centers for Medicare & Medicaid] Meaningful Use clinical quality measures into the best practice program indicator, which requires practices to develop a performance improvement program around the clinical quality performance measures."

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