The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a data brief titled “Use and Characteristics of Electronic Health Record Systems Among Office-based Physician Practices: United States, 2001–2012.” The brief reviews EHR adoption rates and the features that practices and individual clinicians are currently using. The study showed an impressive 72% adoption rate of EHR in ambulatory practices — up from 57% in 2011. While this is good news, the brief goes on to say that 40% of practices indicated that they were using a system that NCHS defines as a basic system, and only 27% indicating that they were using the majority of functions required to meet Stage 1 requirements for Meaningful Use. They also reported that 66% of the individuals have attested or plan to attest to the Meaningful Use program.
There may be a number of reasons behind this discordance, including confusion over the functions a practice may actually be using vs. those needed to meet Meaningful Use. The questions NCHS uses to determine whether a specific functionality is being used appear straightforward. The survey questions can be accessed here (questions 18–23).
The NCHS data brief includes a table providing a side-by-side comparison of the Meaningful Use requirements and the corresponding survey items to which they refer.
When working towards Meaningful Use, review each of these objectives and ensure you are using your EHR to accomplish these tasks. If you are not using these features in your EHR, confirm whether they have been enabled. If you continue to struggle, consider getting more training or utilize a super user.
What are your thoughts? What can we do to help?