'Meaningful Use' Tops List of Concerns in New Health IT Survey

Concern about meeting the "meaningful use" criteria for electronic health records is dominating the concerns of health care providers across the country, according to the latest annual IT survey from Modern Healthcare.

Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of EHRs will qualify for federal incentive payments.

The survey found that meaningful use was the most commonly selected priority area, with more than two-thirds of respondents choosing the objective from a list of 19 health IT issues to address during the next two years.

Fifty-eight percent of survey respondents selected meaningful use as the top "hot button" issue among a list of 21 possible IT priorities.

The survey also found that about 31% of respondents were unsure about whether they would be able to comply with the meaningful use criteria during the first round of incentive payments starting in 2011.

About 14% of participants expressed skepticism about meeting the meaningful use requirements during the 2013 and 2015 incentive periods (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 3/1).

Other Findings

The survey found that health care providers are concerned about other health IT provisions of the stimulus package.

Forty-four percent of respondents said they believed the strengthened data breach notification requirements would have a "negative impact" (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 3/2).

In addition, investigators noted that health care providers had a wide range of views about the potential impact of regional health IT extension centers. The survey found that:

  • 46% of respondents said they thought regional extension centers would be beneficial;
  • 42% said they were unsure; and
  • 12% said they would not be beneficial (Modern Healthcare, 3/1).

The survey also found that participating in a local, regional, or statewide health information exchange was ranked seventh among the top priorities to be addressed in the next two years. Twenty-five percent of respondents listed it as a priority.

In addition, researchers noted that 2% of respondents said a ban on the sale of health care data would have a negative impact on their operations, while 88% said it would have no effect and 10% said it would have a positive effect (Modern Healthcare, 3/2).

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