Healthcare and Medical News from around the Internet 6-15-2012

Another slow news week in the world of Healthcare IT, but there is some potentially serious EHR news to which all providers should pay attention.

EHR and EMR Software Is Widely Used, But Many Vendors Fail to Meet Meaningful Use Measures

MediTouch EHR® users need not worry; MediTouch® was one of the first EHR/EMR vendors in the nation to be fully certified for all Meaningful Use measures, and our providers have been successfully attesting to Meaningful Use for some time. However, for many providers in California using alternative EHR/EMR vendor software this is not the case.

According to a 2011 survey conducted by the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), 70% of doctors in California use an EHR/EMR system, but only 30% have an EHR/EMR with the functionalities needed to achieve the Meaningful Use requirements mandated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Likely, there are many doctors in California using an EHR who may not worry about qualifying for Medicare and Medicaid Meaningful Use incentive payments from CMS (annual payments funded by the ARRA HITECH Act for successful use and attestation), but in 2015 those incentives become penalties.

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act incentive payments could total up to $27 billion over 10 years, or as much as $44,000 (through Medicare) and $63,750 (through Medicaid) per clinician. This funding also will provide the basis for the creation of a nationwide network of EHRs to provide health information exchange (HIE).

UCSF’s California EHR/EMR survey also highlighted another fact we have pointed out in past blog posts: the size of a doctor’s practice is the strongest predictor of having an EHR or EMR system. As in the past, hospitals and large physician groups are more likely to adopt EHR/EMR software at a quicker rate than solo-physician practices and rural doctors and clinics.

Should this EHR/EMR survey of California prove to be an indicator for the rest of the country, doctors across America could be in store for hundreds of thousands of dollars in CMS penalties; a fact HealthFusion® pointed out in our previous EHR blog post earlier this week.

If you are a MediTouch user, do not worry; MediTouch EHR has been Meaningful Use certified since November 2, 2010. MediTouch was designed and built for the future of medicine, and we have been working on preparations for Meaningful Use Stage 2 certification for some time. For those still using an inferior EHR/EMR system, time is running out to adopt a Meaningful Use certified EHR/EMR and avoid upcoming CMS penalties.