Meaningful Use faces stumbling blocks in new year

Many doctors are saying they aren't ready for Meaningful Use now.

It seems that a slight majority of practices are not going to attest to Stage 2 of Meaningful Use, according to a report from Medical Practice Insider. That source collaborated with SERMO and polled a group of physicians and asked them whether or not they would reach this step in 2015. To do so, an individual practitioner needs to meet a total of 20 different objectives, as the official Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) website says.

The survey determined that 55 percent of respondents, which translates to 994 people, are not going to reach those objectives this year. This could represent a notable difference from the approach to Stage 1 last year, as participants who were ready for that benchmark fall behind the new one.

As a way of illustrating one possible reason why physicians could be less prepared, MPI spoke to an anonymous cardiologist who explained that restrictions are too tight for their practice.

"I did Stage 1 in years one and two, but it is almost impossible to do Stage 2. It requires patients to have emails and engage my EHR," this person said. "Well, I have a lot of patients in their 80s and 90s, and they don't have computers, let alone email."

Data from the CMS shows that 3,696 hospitals and 60,561 EP's successfully attested to Stage 2 Meaningful Use last year. Incentive payments for MU compliance exceeded 26 billion as of last November.

A physician consultant prepared to help practices adhere to these deadlines is a useful addition to the planning process for all of those that may feel underprepared. Even if they are lacking the latest technology at the moment, these practices can at least work with professional consultants to develop a workable plan.

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