I’ve read quite a few articles in the last few weeks that talk about the fact that Meaningful Use participation rates are declining. This, despite the fact that using an EHR to attest to Meaningful Use comes with a big monetary payoff – and that physician practices, clinics and hospitals are continuing to adopt electronic health record systems at a steady rate.
According to a source that cites an assessment of government EHR attestation data from this past April, 17 percent of providers who received a Meaningful Use incentive payment in 2011 did not earn the second-year incentive in 2012.
Meaningful Use opponents have been quick to blame flaws in the program for the dropout rate – and they could be partially right. But is it possible that imperfect EHRs are also partly responsible for physicians taking a break from Meaningful Use?
After all, let’s not forget the Black Book Rankings survey results which found that almost half of all providers are dissatisfied with their EHR – and that 17 percent had plans to switch vendors in 2013. The top reasons for doing so included:
- EHR solution not meeting practice’s needs
- Practice not having adequately assessed needs before selectng EHR
- EHR design not suited for the practice specialty or specialties
- Vendor not responsive to requests and needs
- EHR unable to adequately communicate with other EHRs
- EHR not going to meet newest federal requirements for ICD-10 and/or MU Stage 2
It might very well be possible then that healthcare professionals are not abandoning the Meaningful Use program altogether, but just taking time to sort out some software issues before proceeding. This includes selecting an EHR that can meet current and future Meaningful Use needs, as well as finding software that is easy to use, can be customized to fit the practice’s workflows, and is able to integrate with a patient portal and other medical devices and software.