HIT Policy Committee: MU data point to progress, some disparities

Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) data show that large and medium hospitals are doing better than average attesting to Meaningful Use (MU), while small urban hospitals are further behind. Meanwhile, small rural hospitals are keeping pace with MU attestations, Jennifer King, PhD, from ONC's Office of Economic Analysis, Evaluation and Modeling, reported to the Health IT Policy Committee on June 5.

In numbers, as of April 2013, 69 percent of large hospitals, 66 percent of medium-sized hospitals and 68 percent of small rural hospitals have attested to MU. In comparison, 49 percent of small urban hospitals have achieved MU and 19 percent of this group has yet to register for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid’s EHR incentive program, King said.

Overall, 60 percent of hospitals have attested to MU, 19 percent have managed to adopt, implement or upgrade (AIU) an EHR, 8 percent have registered with the EHR incentive program and 4 percent have enrolled in a Regional Extension Center.

“Over 90 percent of hospitals are engaged in some way,” King reported.

No significant difference was found between private, not-for-profit or government hospitals when it came to MU attestation. They all averaged a little over 60 percent, according to King.

Of eligible professionals, physicians and nurse practitioners are showing the most progress in MU. In terms of specialties, King said primary care physicians and medical and surgical specialists are making the most gains, while 3 percent of pediatricians and 3 percent of radiologists have attested to MU.

Eligible professionals in a urban setting show significantly greater progress in MU compared to their rural counterparts. King said 90 percent of physicians have attested to MU, compared to 10 percent of rural doctors.

However, “the strong majority of professionals registered are progressing to AIU," King said.

She stressed that their data show that once eligible entities are registered, they tend to make progress. “Registration is a good indicator of an intent to move forward with incentive payments,” she said.

“The vast majority of hospitals for almost all of the objectives are in a very high range of performance,” King also reported. Likewise, eligible professionals also score highly on achieving core objectives, although are further behind in menu objectives, especially patient reminders, transition of care summaries and patient reminders.