Most Radiologists Eligible for Meaningful Use Payments, Says JACR Article

Expert Describes EHR Attributes to Earn Federal Bonuses, Avoid Penalties

SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- An article in the September issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology (JACR) shows radiologists how to qualify for the maximum federal incentive payments available for meaningful use of electronic health records (EHRs). The payments are distributed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

The article, by DR Systems co-founder Murray A. Reicher, M.D., also outlines how radiologists can avoid CMS penalties for not complying with meaningful use, and describes the ideal EHR for ambulatory radiology practices that meet meaningful use (MU) requirements.

Dr. Reicher and his co-authors wrote the article to clear up several misconceptions about MU. They note:

  • Radiology was not left out of meaningful use -- and in fact most radiologists qualify for bonuses. An estimated 90% of radiologists are eligible for incentive payments, according to the American College of Radiology. Radiologists will have to qualify before October 1, 2012 to earn the maximum bonus of $44,000.
  • By complying with meaningful use, radiologists can improve healthcare and be better equipped for the future. To qualify for incentive payments, radiologists must collect additional patient data that can inform the care they provide. That process, Reicher asserts, will help them to avoid being commoditized as imaging readers.

“Although it takes some effort and investment to comply with meaningful use, I believe it is a blessing in disguise for radiology practices,” said Dr. Reicher. “In fact, an EHR that meets meaningful use requirements will both improve healthcare and make practices more efficient. But this will be true only if they choose their EHR technology carefully.”

The article describes several attributes of an ideal EHR for ambulatory (non-hospital-based) radiology practices:

  • Complete. It is far more efficient to acquire an EHR that has everything required for MU than to piece one together from disparate technology.
  • Radiology-centric. Unless the EHR is designed to fit a radiologist's workflow, compliance might not be economical even considering the bonuses and penalties.
  • Cloud-based. CMS requires that to receive bonuses, radiologists must either implement their certified EHR in a location where they have more than 50% of their patient encounters, or work more than 50% of the time at a facility that has a certified system. “The most efficient way to meet this requirement,” Reicher says, “is to have a cloud-based system that radiologists can log into from wherever they are working.”

About Murray A. Reicher, M.D., F.A.C.R.

A Board-certified diagnostic radiologist, Murray A. Reicher, M.D., F.A.C.R., is a Fellow of the American College of Radiology and co-founder and Chairman of DR Systems, Inc., one of the world’s most successful medical information technology companies. His 30-year history of innovation in medical imaging includes development of early clinical applications of MRI and development of multiple, patented information systems-related inventions. Dr. Reicher is past CEO of Radiology Medical Group, Inc. and Imaging Healthcare Specialists of San Diego. He is currently Councilor for the California Radiological Society.

About DR Systems, Inc.

DR Systems is the leading independent provider of enterprise imaging and information management systems for integrated healthcare networks, hospitals, and diagnostic imaging centers. For more than 18 years, the company has helped over 500 hospitals and imaging center sites lower their cost of operation by improving management of patient information, eliminating ancillary IT systems and interfaces, and increasing workflow speed, while also providing better clinical quality and patient care.

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