Medicaid providers face common barriers to meaningful use
Research Activities, November 2012, No. 387
The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act authorized incentive payments through Medicare and Medicaid to clinicians and hospitals when they use electronic health records (EHRs) privately and securely. The goal is not just adoption of EHRs, but "meaningful use" of them—that is, their use by providers to achieve significant improvements in care, which are tied to the payment incentives. A new report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality examines challenges Medicaid providers face in achieving meaningful use of health information technologies.
The report finds that barriers to adoption and meaningful use of EHRs were not associated with serving a predominantly Medicaid-insured population. However, providers such as dentists, pediatricians, and nurse midwives who were only eligible for incentives under the Medicaid program, reported some difficulty finding a certified EHR appropriate for their specialty. Also, some required measures of care, such as blood pressure, were irrelevant due to the age of the patient groups they serve. The reported barriers to adoption and achievement of meaningful use were consistent with those cited in past studies, including limited awareness of the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program, difficulty in selection and functionality of EHRs, and limited ability to implement core measures of Stage 1 meaningful use.
The report recommended greater collaboration between all stakeholders to provide more targeted technical assistance tools and development of a body of knowledge to address the socio-cultural, technical, and training needs of Medicaid providers. You can access the full report at http://healthit.ahrq.gov/BarrierstoMeaningfulUseFinalReport (PDF File).