Study: Physicians More Pessimistic on Meaningful Use Than Staff

January 5, 2015 in News

Compared with other ambulatory practice staff, physicians are more pessimistic about whether their practices will be able to address challenges related to the implementation of electronic health records under the meaningful use program, according to a study published in BMC Medical Informatics Decision Making, EHR Intelligence reports. Physicians also expressed less willingness to change their work habits to meet the requirements of the program.

Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHRs can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments (Bresnick, EHR Intelligence, 12/31/14).

Details of Study

For the study, researchers surveyed 400 providers and staff from 47 ambulatory practices within an integrated delivery system (Slabodkin, Health Data Management, 1/2).

Researchers found that 57.9% of physicians said they were willing to change their work practices in response to the meaningful use program, compared with about 83% of advanced-practice providers and nursing staff.

In addition, a minority of respondents believed their organization was prepared to address challenges related to attesting to Stage 1 of the meaningful use program. Specifically:

  • 28.4% of physicians said their organization was prepared for such challenges; and
  • About 45% of advanced-practice providers and nurses said their organization was prepared for such challenges (EHR Intelligence, 12/31/14).

Meanwhile, the study found that 12.6% of providers or staff  in specialty care settings said they thought the meaningful use program would divert attention from other priorities for patient care, compared with 4.4% of providers or staff in primary care settings (Shea et al., BMC Medical Informatics Decision Making, 12/14/14).

Further, the study found that the belief that the meaningful use program aligns with department goals was associated with providers and staff being more willing to alter their work practices. (Health Data Management, 1/2).

Recommendations

The authors wrote that the “results suggest that leaders of health care organizations should pay attention to the perceptions that providers and clinical staff have about [meaningful use] appropriateness and management support for” meaningful use.

Specifically, the authors recommended that leaders of health care organizations:

  • Document measures and proficiency required for Stage 1 attestation to reduce staff concerns;
  • Form a clear framework for meaningful use implementation to help improve the chances of attestation success; and
  • Provide further opportunities for demonstrations, guidance and trainings for staff on EHR (EHR Intelligence, 12/31/14).
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