Healthcare Experts Watch For EHR Dropoff By Docs - InformationWeek
Healthcare // Analytics
01:20 PM
Ransomware: Latest Developments & How to Defend Against Them
Nov 01, 2017
Ransomware is one of the fastest growing types of malware, and new breeds that escalate quickly ar ...Read More>>

Healthcare Experts Watch For EHR Dropoff By Docs

Of the doctors who attested to Meaningful Use of EHRs in 2011, 20% failed to participate in the federal incentive program in 2012, new data says.

 7 Big Data Solutions Try To Reshape Healthcare
7 Big Data Solutions Try To Reshape Healthcare
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Of the doctors who attested to Meaningful Use of their EHRs in 2011, 20% failed to participate in the federal incentive program in 2012, according to an analysis of government data by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).

The number of family physicians who re-attested fell by 21%, from 11,578 in 2011 to 9,188 in 2012. However, the number of doctors who attested to Meaningful Use stage 1 for the first time last year soared to 23,635, a 180% increase from the prior year.

Robert Anthony, an official of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), addressed the decline in second-year attestations in a presentation on July 9 to the Health IT Policy Committee, according to Jason Mitchell, director of the AAFP's Center for Health IT.

Anthony told the committee that about a third of the "non-returners," as CMS describes them, were physicians who had simply missed the deadline to register for the second year of incentives, Mitchell said. "Most of the rest of these folks, according to CMS, either retired, moved to a practice that didn't have an EHR or had problems with the vendor or the EHR itself," he added.

[ Is healthcare getting the investment dollars it needs? Read Venture Capitalists Keep Digital Health Products Flowing. ]

But Mitchell and Steven Waldren, senior strategist for health IT at the center, suggested other causes for the decline in an article in AAFP News. While missing the deadline was part of the problem, they said, so was the transition from a 90-day reporting period in 2011 to a full-year reporting period in 2012. Decreased funding for the regional extension centers (RECs) that helped many physicians adopt EHRs and attest to Meaningful Use might also have contributed to the drop-off, they said. The RECs only have to help enrolled physicians achieve Meaningful Use in the first year, not the second, under their government contracts.

In an interview with InformationWeek Healthcare, Mitchell said that the doctors who attested to Meaningful Use in 2011 but not in 2012 tended to be early adopters who were experienced in using EHRs. If these tech-savvy, committed doctors couldn't attest for two years in a row, he said, it raises questions about whether other, less committed physicians will remain in the program for Meaningful Use stage 2, even if they attested in both years of stage 1.

"There's a real possibility that the folks who have been able to re-attest may take their $30,000 in incentives and say, 'It's not worth the push into stage 2.' The change from stage 1 to stage 2 is going to be very significant. And I think we'll see a significant slowdown in the folks who remain attached to the Meaningful Use wagon."

Evan Steele, president of SRS Software, which makes a government-certified EHR for specialists, also wondered how many physicians would hang in there for the long run. Just in moving from the first to the second year of Meaningful Use stage 1, he told InformationWeek Healthcare, doctors had to collect data for a period four times as long for an incentive that was one-third smaller -- $12,000 in year two vs. $18,000 in year one.

1 of 2
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
User Rank: Apprentice
7/19/2013 | 4:03:24 AM
re: Healthcare Experts Watch For EHR Dropoff By Docs
If you think about it, these numbers actually make sense. For many of these doctors, the headaches associated with attesting for Meaningful Use for a whole year to only gain a small amount in incentives just isnG«÷t worth the trouble. It will be interesting to see how many people stick with the MU program going into MU 2 and MU 3. If these numbers hold up then we would see even sharper declines in the number of physicians attesting.

Jay Simmons
Information Week Contributor
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Digital Transformation Myths & Truths
Transformation is on every IT organization's to-do list, but effectively transforming IT means a major shift in technology as well as business models and culture. In this IT Trend Report, we examine some of the misconceptions of digital transformation and look at steps you can take to succeed technically and culturally.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll