Radiologists considering implications of meaningful use

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According to a recent study published by research firm KLAS, many radiologists are concerned about the implications of adopting medical informatics systems due to the regulatory guidelines associated with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) meaningful use financial incentive program.

The first report of its kind, the study polled 216 radiologists to gauge how these professionals felt about the compliance regulations of the CMS’ meaningful use program, and how they would affect the radiology profession. The results indicate that 40 percent of such professionals expressed concerns over the transparency of meaningful use eligibility criteria in the context of radiology. The impact on operational efficiency was also cited as cause for concern by some survey respondents.

However, despite hesitation and concerns about the effect of meaningful use compliance regulations on the radiology profession, 60 percent of professionals surveyed indicated that they plan to adopt a medical informatics network. Of that figure, 25 percent of individuals stated that they were integral in healthcare IT purchasing decisions.

“These numbers should be a wake-up call for the radiology industry,” Emily Crane, author of the report, said in a statement. “Most radiologists are eligible providers, meaning that if they meet [meaningful use] criteria by the deadline, they are eligible for some or all of the $44,000 incentive. In addition, those who do not meet the criteria by 2015 will be hit with penalties.”

Radiologists have some flexibility when it comes to certifying to stage one of the meaningful use federal financial incentives. According to Healthcare IT News, radiology professionals do not have to demonstrate the same number of qualifying use criteria as some other healthcare professionals, and guidelines for stages two and three have yet to be clearly defined by the CMS.