CHICAGO — Here at the Radiological Society of North America’s 96th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting, attendees are still getting up to speed on the whys and wherefores of meaningful use, as well as the federal incentives for getting into compliance.
If audience members at the meaningful use educational sessions are any indication, many radiologists are just now realizing they — and about 90% of their peers — probably are eligible. Some are hearing about the concept for the first time.
Understanding whether you qualify for incentives as a solo practitioner can appear to involve a morass of math and the interpretation of thousands of pages of regulations written by regulators for regulators — not for those being regulated. For hospitals, multiplying the number of doctors by $44,000 is the cocktail-napkin calculation to ballpark how much incentive money they’re theoretically in line to receive. However, who wants to trust a five-year software-purchasing budget to that kind of rough math?
A number of experts from several radiology professional groups recently launched the radiologyMU.org website to sort all this out. It’s part of a larger site (healthMU.org) that is still under construction, and its builders appear to have ambitions to apply the formula to other clinical specialties, although that remains to be seen.
The site features news and “101”-type information about meaningful use and how it works for radiology. Its most useful part, however, is two Meaningful Use Practice Analyzer widgets. They calculate whether a radiologist (or hospital) is eligible for incentive dollars, then gauge the practitioner’s meaningful use compliance level based on his gear and office workflow. The tools then output a report explaining what more has to be done to reap those incentive bucks, if indeed the practitioner qualifies.
Radiologists, check it out. Everyone else, drop by every once in a while to see if and when other specialties get added to the mix.