Participation by office-based physicians in the electronic health-record incentive payment program waned significantly in 2014, the program's fourth year, as clinicians faced system upgrades and tougher requirements.
The number of physicians and other eligible professionals in ambulatory care who attested to having met the requirements of the multibillion-dollar federal program dropped by 12% last year compared with 2013 numbers, based on federal data for the type of EHR system these providers most commonly use.
Meanwhile, less than a third of the office-based providers using complete EHRs managed to step up to the program's more stringent Stage 2 requirements in 2014.
Epic Systems Corp., the Verona, Wis.-based EHR developer, had by far the largest number of physicians and other customers of its complete EHR system used in an ambulatory-care setting who met Stage 2 meaningful-use requirements last year.
Some 36,350 physicians and other eligible professionals used Epic's software to meet Stage 2 requirements in 2014. They accounted for 57.5% of the 63,288 ambulatory-care providers able to attest at Stage 2 in that category, according to a mashup of databases kept by the CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS.
Rounding out the top five developers of complete EHRs used by ambulatory providers meeting Stage 2 requirements were eClinicalWorks, with 10.1% of providers; Athenahealth, 7.1%; Allscripts, 5.2%; and Practice Fusion, 2.9%.
There were 474 vendors with at least one customer in the program and 136 developers had at least one customer use their software to clear Stage 2. But the top 10 vendors accounted for 91% of all Stage 2 meaningful users.
So far, the federal EHR incentive payment program, created under the HITECH provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, has paid $12.5 billion to physicians and other eligible professionals to buy and meaningfully use EHRs, according to the latest program update from the CMS. (Hospitals have received nearly $18.6 billion.)