Some hospitals have made rapid progress this year in their preparations to become meaningful users of electronic health-record systems and qualify for federal incentive payments under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, according to a survey conducted by HIMSS Analytics, the market research arm of the Chicago-based Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.
HIMSS: More hospitals—but not most—ready to meet meaningful-use requirements
Ten percent of hospitals in the survey reported that they are able to meet all 14 core measures and the five required "menu" measures needed to qualify as meaningful users of a certified EHR system, according to a summary of the report on the HIMSS website. Responses were collected from 778 hospitals between Feb. 1 and Sept. 30 of this year.
In addition, 31% of responding hospitals indicated they were "most likely" ready to meet meaningful-use targets for Stage 1 of the program. According to HIMSS Analytics, "most likely" means the hospital can meet between 10 and 13 of the core measures and at least three menu items.
Combined to equal 41% of hospitals surveyed, these two categories are defined by HIMSS Analytic as being "well positioned" to meet meaningful-use targets during Stage 1 of the program as of Sept. 30. That percentage of well-positioned hospitals is up from 25% of hospitals in February, according to a HIMSS news release.
Under the EHR incentive program, Stage 1 began for hospitals on Oct. 1, 2010. A second year of the program still using Stage 1 criteria began Oct. 1 of this year. First-year participants under the Medicare portion of the program must attest that they have met the meaningful-use criteria for 90 consecutive days within their first year. In a participant's second year, they must attest that they have met meaningful-use targets for a full year.
In the glass-half-empty portion of the survey, HIMSS Analytics concluded that 53% of hospitals surveyed were "not likely" to become meaningful users in Stage 1 since they reported meeting only nine or fewer core measures and any number of menu measures. Finally, 6% of hospitals reported that they could meet no meaningful-use measures whatsoever.
The HIMSS news release, citing CMS data, notes that 2,215 hospitals have registered for either the Medicare or Medicaid EHR incentive programs, but only 158 hospitals have taken the final step and attested to having achieved meaningful use and been paid under Medicare program. More than 400 hospitals have been paid under various state-run Medicaid programs, which do not require hospitals to become meaningful users in the first year.
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