By Naveen Sarabu, Director, Product Management and Strategy, Liaison Healthcare Informatics
Having just returned from the HIMSS conference in Las Vegas, I was able to gain some interesting insight and talk to industry leaders at the show about how meaningful use incentives are affecting the adoption of electronic health records. Recently, stage one of the meaningful use incentives was implemented and stage two was just announced while we were at the conference.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) also released their monthly EHR Incentive Program report. According to the report, in the first 9 months, approximately $3.12 billion has been paid as incentive to eligible professionals and hospitals to meet the stage one meaningful use requirements. The report shows 22,937 eligible professionals and 712 hospitals received incentive payments under Medicare. Additionally, 18,319 providers and 1,285 eligible hospitals have also received payments under Medicaid. These numbers can be used to estimate the current state of EHR adoption among physicians and hospitals.
There are 5,008 registered non-federal community hospitals in the United States, as reported by the American Hospital Association. Of those, 1,997 hospitals have received incentive payments either through Medicare or Medicaid. That number accounts for about 39 percent of all the registered non-federal community hospitals in the U.S. In 2010, approximately 19 percent of the non-federal acute care hospitals are reported to have been using EHR. With the meaningful use incentives, EHR adoption in U.S. hospitals has increased by 20 percent in the nine months alone and seems to be well above the projected 25 percent adoption as of now.
On the “eligible professional” side however, the numbers suggest that only 41,256 out of 429,910* (9 percent) office-based physicians have received the incentive payments. This number points to the face that not all the physicians that are on EHR have yet demonstrated for the stage one requirements.
It will be interesting to see how meaningful use incentives will affect EHR adoption in 2012. Even though the eligible professionals started slowly, they may be on track to catch up with the hospitals this year. What do you all think?
*Data from Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition. 429,910 represents the total number of self-employed and employed working in the offices of physicians.