Slightly more than 12% of eligible health care professionals had attested to the Medicare portion of the meaningful use program as of May 2012, according to a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine, MedPage Today reports.
Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health record systems can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.
In December 2012, CDC's National Center for Health Statistics released a report finding that 27% of office-based physicians had EHR systems capable of supporting 13 of the Stage 1 core objectives for the meaningful use program. To qualify for Stage 1, eligible professionals must meet 15 core objectives and five additional objectives from a menu of 10 options.
Details of the Report
For the NEJM report, researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston calculated meaningful use attestation rates by combining CMS data from April 2011 to May 2012 with Government Accountability Office estimates on the number of eligible professionals in the U.S.
The researchers also used data from the American Medical Association on physicians categorized according to specialty and state (Pittman, MedPage Today, 2/20).
The report found that 12.2% of the 509,328 eligible professionals had attested to the Medicare portion of the meaningful use program as of May 2012. That percentage included:
Primary care providers accounted for 44% of the Medicare meaningful use attestations, the report found.
The median Medicare attestation rate for states was 7.7% of eligible professionals. Medicare attestation rates varied from 1.9% of eligible professionals in Alaska to 24.2% of eligible professionals in North Dakota, according to the report (MedPage Today, 2/20).
Comments on the Findings
The researchers noted that if EHR adoption rates continue at the same pace, many physicians could face federal penalties for not meeting meaningful use criteria by 2015.
Adam Wright -- a study author, a senior research scientist at Brigham and Women's Hospital and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School -- said that physicians might be waiting to adopt EHR systems because of concerns about lost productivity and implementation costs (Gordon, HealthDay/U.S. News & World Report, 2/20).