Market research firm: Relaxing meaningful use standards a postitive for EHRs
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Relaxing the meaningful use standards, as some physician organizations and members of Congress are urging HHS to do, would be a boon to the EMR industry, according to market research firm Kalorama Information, which completed its market research report “EMR 2010 (Market Analysis, ARRA Incentives, Key Players, and Important Trends)” earlier this year. The report predicts a $13.8 billion market that if properly driven by incentives and encouragement of health systems, could grow in double digits.
“Requiring physicians to undergo 25 mandates by next year may not be effective given the kind of real-world usage among physicians we see today,” said Bruce Carlson, publisher of Kalorama Information. “Getting physicians used to these systems is the challenge to a totally paperless healthcare system in the United States and we think gradual, achievable goals would be preferable.”
Kalorama notes that the objectives of the HSS meaningful use requirements, in order for physicians to receive incentives in 2011, include some that would be expected, such as a requirement that physicians must submit a percentage of claims electronically, use an established diagnostic list such as ICD-9.
Thirty-seven U.S. Senators, led by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Montana, and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, wrote a letter requesting improvements in a proposed rule for distributing stimulus funds for health IT that was published by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services which would increase flexibility and encourage participation among providers. 235 members of the U.S. House of Representatives urged CMS to modify its proposed definition and requirements for hospitals to qualify for the meaningful use of health IT incentive payments.
Kalorama’s market research study was conducted before the release of ‘meaningful use’ standards by HHS, but it did note that the largest barrier to EMR use in the United States is physician compliance. Kalorama has also noted that for EMR to grow in the way the federal government envisions, healthcare systems will have to develop incentives of their own, something that might be in jeopardy if standards are not easier to follow.
“It’s not just about encouraging physicians directly, though that’s part of it,” notes Carlson. “It’s about encouraging healthcare systems to develop ‘matching’ programs to encourage EMR among their affiliated physicians. Unless there’s a clear road to incentive money they won’t do that.”