The types of measures hospitals are deferring in their Stage 1 meaningful use attestation suggest areas in which they will have to make investments to meet Stage 2 requirements.
At the Dec. 7 Health IT Policy Committee meeting, Robert Anthony from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Office of E-Health Standards and Services, gave an update on the most recent statistics gathered by CMS in the EHR incentive program. He noted that attesting hospitals are deferring patient education and transitions of care menu items in large numbers. “It appears these are the hardest hurdles for them, and we’ll have to see if that trend continues,” he said.
As of November 2011, 62 percent of attesting hospitals have deferred providing patients education resources, 74 percent deferred medication reconciliation and 92 percent deferred summary of care at transitions. In the public health area, 77 percent deferred reportable lab results and 82 percent deferred syndromic surveillance. In many cases, he noted, that may be because regional public health agencies have not yet developed the infrastructure to accept the data. As panel members pointed out, it seems that every type of measure that relies on health information exchange is proving difficult to work on. (Drug formulary, immunization registries and patient list are the most popular menu objectives.)
Anthony was upbeat about the trend lines regarding the number of eligible professionals and hospitals participating in the program. He noted that 57 percent of all hospitals eligible for the program have already registered, and 29.6 percent of the eligible providers have registered. To date, CMS has paid out approximately $1.8 billion in incentive payments.