Finding “meaningful” quality measures for specialists was one of the toughest challenges the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) faced in Stage 1 of its incentive program for electronic health record adoption. Many specialists felt that the menu of meaningful use measures did not apply to their practices.
A study co-authored by ONC staffers and published in the March 2011 issue of Health Affairs found that although 90.6 percent of physicians working in general or family practice or internal medicine could qualify for incentives, fewer than two-thirds of pediatricians, obstetrician-gynecologists, and psychiatrists may qualify.
The federal Health IT Policy Committee’s Meaningful Use Workgroup plans to hold a public hearing on May 13 focused on specialist considerations related to meaningful use in Stage 2. Topics will include care coordination among specialists, primary care, care management, and patients, as well as EHR support of specialists in patient care and clinical decision support.
Recently the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a policy statement about health IT issues facing pediatricians. AAP said its membership needs pediatric-specific quality measures based on clinical data as well as data standards that facilitate electronic collection, processing, and reporting of pediatric-specific and pediatric-appropriate clinical data from medical homes.
The AAP also noted that privacy laws pose implementation challenges. “In addition to jurisdictional variations in laws surrounding patient privacy,” the AAP statement noted, “there are technical, political, and ethical issues surrounding information management for children with conditions such as HIV or rare diseases, adolescent privacy and confidentiality issues, and of confidential data stored in health information exchanges.”