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Study: Compared With Staff, Docs Down on MU

January 6, 2015
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Compared with their staff, physicians were less likely to have strong confidence in their department’s ability to solve meaningful use (MU) implementation problems, according to a recent study published in published in BMC Medical Informatics & Decision Making.

Nearly 45 percent of nurses and advanced-practice providers believed their organization would be able to address any problems that arose during meaningful use attestation, but just 28.4 percent of physicians had confidence in overcoming issues. What’s more, the study found that individuals working in specialty settings were more likely to report that MU will divert attention from other patient care priorities, as compared to those in primary-care settings. In addition, provider/staff perceptions about whether MU aligns with departmental goals were associated with their willingness to change practice behavior for MU, according to the study.

For the study, researchers surveyed 400 providers and staff from 47 ambulatory practices within an integrated delivery system.  They assessed whether the respondent’s role and practice-setting type (primary versus specialty care) were associated with reported readiness for MU (i.e., willingness to change practice behavior and ability to document actions for MU) and hypothesized predictors of readiness (i.e., perceived appropriateness of MU and department support for MU).

Researchers then assessed associations between reported readiness and the hypothesized predictors of readiness. The highest percentages of the 400 total responses were from physicians (69.9 percent), and from individuals that had been in their role for one-four years (41 percent), practiced in specialty care clinics (65.5 percent), and used the electronic health record (EHR) five-seven days per week (86.7 percent).

“These results suggest that leaders of healthcare organizations should pay attention to the perceptions that providers and clinical staff have about MU appropriateness and management support for MU, the study’s authors concluded. “Change management efforts could focus on improving these perceptions if need be as it is feasible that doing so could improve willingness to change practices for MU.

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