Many physicians miss out on medical informatics meaningful use payments, says study

According to a study due to be published in the May issue of the journal Health Affairs, there was a significant disparity in the number of healthcare professionals eligible to receive meaningful use payments and those who actually applied for them.

Lead researcher Chun-Ju Hsiao and her team at the National Center for Health Statistics within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention compiled responses from a survey of more than 3,390 physicians from all 50 states to arrive at their conclusions.

The study revealed that while 91 percent of physicians nationwide believed they were eligible to receive payments under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) meaningful use incentive program, only 10 percent actually did so. These figures were substantially lower than officials at the CMS had originally predicted.

The CMS initially expected between 10 and 36 percent of Medicare-eligible professionals and 15 to 47 percent of Medicare providers to demonstrate meaningful use of medical informatics systems last year.

Results of a report published by KPMG indicate that despite rising levels of medical informatics adoption at care facilities across the country, many healthcare providers see the CMS’ meaningful use guidelines as a compliance challenge.

Key findings of the study indicate that 71 percent of hospitals polled said they were more than 50 percent done with completing a clinical informatics implementation project. Although 48 percent of respondents said they were confident they would demonstrate stage one meaningful use of their medical informatics networks, 10 percent were not aware of their overall state of readiness. A further 3 percent indicated they felt that they would not achieve stage one compliance by the end of the year.

“Achievement of meaningful use is a major organization-wide transformational initiative, and associated challenges must be effectively managed from the beginning or organizations may face serious project risk issues down the line,” Brad Benton, partner and national account leader for KPMG Healthcare, said in a statement.

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