About half of eligible providers (EPs) have registered for EHR incentive payments, according to spokespersons from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which administers the incentive programs. The officials shared program figures through September 2012 during the HIMSS Government Health IT Virtual Briefing on Oct. 17.[See also: CMS and ONC offer detailed looks at EHR and health IT data]
With some growing pains, the meaningful use program has emerged as a model for multi-stakeholder collaboration in healthcare, Rob Tagalicod, director of CMS’s Office of Health Standards and Services, commented. Nearly 81 percent of hospitals have registered.
Although registration doesn’t necessarily mean that providers will participate, “we’re really happy with these numbers,” Elizabeth Shinberg Holland, director of CMS’s HIT Initiatives Group, said.
As of September, about $7.7 billion has been disbursed through meaningful use incentive payments — about $1.4 billion for Medicare EPs, $1.2 billion to Medicaid EPs and about 4.8 billion to eligible hospitals.[See also: CMS adds detail on proposed clinical quality measures for 2014]
Among the most common EHR menu objectives chosen for attestation, CMS has found, are immunization registry, drug formulary and patient lists for EPs and advance directives, drug formulary and clinical lab results for eligible hospitals.
Among the least popular menu objectives for EPs are transitions of care and patient reminders, and transitions of care and syndromic surveillance for hospitals.
“It is a little concerning to us,” Holland said, that the least popular menu objectives are also ones that tend to involve interoperability. That’s a sign that the pursuit of interoperability remains a hurdle, Holland said.
Among signs of progress, Holland added, Medicare providers who have been meaningful users for 90 days tend to use EHRs for every patient and appear to be embracing the technology as part of their workflow, even if they’re deferring on some menu objectives.Looking at the current state of EHR adoption in the United States, Holland said, it’s important to keep in mind that although there’s been a lot of success -- with many providers continuing through Stage 2 to clinical data demonstrations -- some providers are just now thinking of adopting EHRs.