How Meaningful Is Meaningful Use?

The successful adoption and implementation of electronic health records (EHRs) has, since 2011, been measured by the attainment of “meaningful use (MU),” a series of staged requirements established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). During the first 4 years of the program, more than 350,000 eligible providers registered, and more than $7 billion in bonus payments has been paid out. Beginning in 2016, penalties will be assessed.

According to the results of a recent survey of orthopaedic practices by the American Association of Orthopaedic Executives (AAOE), however, neither the incentive payments nor the penalties may be sufficient to prompt some practices to begin or continue participation in the program.

For example, of 225 practices responding to the survey, just 22 reported Stage 2 participation in 2014. Nearly a quarter (56 practices) did not participate in the MU program at all in 2014. “The current requirements are causing many orthopaedic practices to step back and think about continuing to participate,” wrote Jason M. McCormick, in a white paper summarizing the survey results. Mr. McCormick is the process improvement manager for the Campbell Clinic, Nashville, Tenn.

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