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Who's ready for meaningful use? Larger, academic centers: CHIME

Larger, academic health organizations are more confident they’ll qualify more quickly for incentive payments through meaningful use than smaller facilities and community hospitals will, according to a survey of health care CIOs.

The College of Health Information Management Executives (CHIME) polled 152 executives, or about 11% of its membership, to gauge their reaction to the final rule governing meaningful use. Providers who wish to qualify for the federal Electronic Health Record Incentive Program will have to demonstrate they are using health information technology to specific criteria.

More than half of the respondents to the survey, 62%, said they don’t expect to qualify for the program in its first year, 2011, but they would be prepared by 2012. Another 28% said they were confident they would be ready within the first six months, and 10% said they were expecting to qualify in 2013 or 2014, which marks the second stage of the program.

Of the CIOs who said they’d be ready within the first six months, 38% came from academic medical centers and 22% came from community hospitals. Hospitals with between 600 and 999 beds were more likely to say they’d be ready within the first two years of the program, 2011 or 2012.

Uncertainty still surrounds the EHR incentive program as providers continue to digest all the meaningful use criteria, their impact on IT operating plans and vendor purchases, CHIME said in releasing the survey.

“CIOs are still early in the discovery process. We don’t yet have a complete understanding of the certification process and its impact on providers,” said Pamela McNutt, senior vice president and CIO of Methodist Health System, Dallas, and chair of CHIME’s policy steering committee, in a written statement. “The reality of what it will take to qualify for stimulus funding won’t be fully known until our vendors have obtained certification.”

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