After $26 Billion Paid Out, Meaningful Use of Electronic Health Records Only 4 Percent of Target

At a September 3 meeting of the Administration’s Health IT Policy Committee, the Administration disclosed that only 3,154 eligible professionals (doctors, dentists, etcetera) had “attested” to so-called “meaningful use Stage 2” to get their bounties from the federal government for installing electronic health records. Only 143 hospitals had attested.

One healthcare leader, who was at the meeting, was disappointed:

“The numbers are very low, particularly for Stage 2 attestation. I mean they are like 4 percent of [providers] that should be currently going for Stage 2,” HITPC member and Intermountain Healthcare CIO Marc Probst commented during the meeting.

This new data reinforces the case we made just one week ago, that Congress should not appropriate more funds to bribe doctors and hospitals to install electronic health records which they will not use meaningfully. The cost-benefit analysis of federal subsidies to this effort just doesn’t add up.

Comments (4)

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  1. Devon Herrick says:

    We’ve written about EHR before. We came to the conclusion that if they were for a specific purpose, they are a good idea. But if they were merely to satisfy a mandate, EHR would probably fail to reach its potential. As Linda Gorman has pointed out, hospitals are heavily wired. Back when I worked in accounting at a hospital, we all had computers. Personnel had computers, admissions and patient billing had computers. Materials management had computers. The reason: these functions were made much more efficient using computers. However, medical records was a huge room with shelves that could be moved to compress the space required. At the time there was no advantage of storing records electronically. Indeed, I’ve talked to doctors who say it really reduces their productivity. They lament that they are required to input more information than they need to retain. They have trouble finding the appropriate pull-down menu. The screens that require input are not intuitive — and don’t necessarily require inputs that match a typical patient encounter. One of the biggest complaints I often hear from doctors is that EHR inserts a barrier between patient and doctor. Rather than looking the patient in the eye, the doctor spends too much time struggling with a computer screen.

    That’s not to say that EHR don’t have potential. But, the current design features requirements from HHS rather than having been tested in the marketplace to see what providers most want. That is a recipe for disaster.

  2. Big Truck Joe says:

    What about possible punitive measures that can now be taken against doctors who don’t meet clinical practice guidelines of an ACO and therefore get lower reimbursement. I think as a doctor, EHRs that are forced down doctors throats by CMS may have more risks than benefits.

    • John R. Graham says:

      If I were a doctor looking at long-term consequences, I think I would conclude that the government would increasingly use the EHR as a way to cut fees, by continually increasing the requirements to avoid the fines.

  3. Ron Greiner says:

    My partner just had me look at iMEDicor who is selling doctors to take $67,000 in Federal grants then they get paid a commission if and only if the Feds cough up the dough. Their stock value is .007 so if it goes up a couple pennies everybody is in the big bucks.

    Pam says these doctors offices send all claims to Blue Cross no matter who the patient has their insurance with. I think it would be great if everything went to Blue Cross electronically because they are already so far in over their head that additional information will probably just shut them down, and that’s a good thing.

    What this country needs is more preventative medicine so we don’t have sick people anymore and my HSA balance invested in AIZ will shoot to the moon. I can dream can’t I?