According to a letter to the editor in the most recent issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, only 12.2 percent of eligible physicians have attested to Stage 1 of meaningful use of electronic health records (EHRs) under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. The letter comes from an assortment of researchers from prominent institutions, who cite state, specialty, EHR vendor, and monthly attestation rates as the source of their data.
Calculating their numbers through May 2012, the researchers found overallof 62,226 eligible professionals out of an estimated 509,328 eligible physicians in the United States. They also found that 9.8 percent of specialists and 17.8 percent of primary care providers (PCPs) have attested to Stage 1 of meaningful use. In addition, family practitioners had the highest number of attestations (with 14,122), and PCPs comprised 44.0 percent of all attestations.
“Although these data suggest rapid growth in the number of providers achieving meaningful use, this pace must accelerate for most eligible professionals to avoid penalties in 2015. Barriers to EHR adoption and meaningful use include cost, lack of knowledge, workflow challenges, and lack of interoperability,” the researchers wrote.