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HIMSS survey shows organizations are striving for stage 2 incentives

Three-quarters of respondents to the annual HIMSS leadership survey say they expect their organizations qualify for stage 2 meaningful use incentives in 2014. Only 4% said their facility had no plans to ever qualify for stage 2 incentives, further supporting the growing adoption rate of the incentive program. More than half (55%) of the respondents identified themselves as chief information officers, and the remainder hold various health information positions.

“With more than half of the respondents reporting that they have qualified for meaningful use stage one and 25% saying that they will invest a minimum of $1 million to achieve stage two, it seems that we have reached a tipping point where initial government investments are beginning to pay off and meaningful use is becoming ingrained in the healthcare industry,” said Jennifer Horowitz, senior director of research for HIMSS Analytics, in a press release at HIMSS 2013.

The incentive program is not flawless, despite encouraging widespread use of EHRs. It was under criticism recently for failing to regulate self-reporting and potential misappropriation of incentive dollars. Specifically, all Medicare data is submitted by eligible providers. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services was accused of failing to conduct sufficient prepayment procedures to ensure the accuracy of the self-reported data. The federal agency responded to the criticism, saying that requiring additional prepayment documentation would overburden providers and possibly delay the delivery of their incentive payments.

And despite general support for health IT tools, some physicians have yet to implement EHR systems due to a lack of time or expertise. Transferring paper records to EHRs can be time-consuming, in addition to the costly installation process. Clinicians also have expressed concerns about the privacy and security of electronically stored patient records. Some physicians also doubt that EHR systems would improve efficiency for their practice.

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