Small, Solo-Provider Practices Lag in EHR Adoption

May 24, 2013
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EHR implementation raceAt the beginning of May, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that more than half of all eligible healthcare providers had received federal incentive payments for participating in the EHR Incentive Programs and successfully attesting to Meaningful Use.

EHR implementation raceAt the beginning of May, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that more than half of all eligible healthcare providers had received federal incentive payments for participating in the EHR Incentive Programs and successfully attesting to Meaningful Use. Yet despite these impressive numbers, there is still a large percentage of the healthcare population that’s getting left behind when it comes to EHR adoption and Meaningful Use.

According to a recent study by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, only 31 percent of solo practitioners have an EHR system that meets the requirements for Meaningful Use Stage 1, compared to 62 percent of mid-sized practices and 82 percent of larger healthcare facilities.

Of those practices that do not have a Meaningful Use-ready EHR, many say they plan to implement one within the next 12 months (12 percent) or sometime thereafter (23 percent). Meanwhile, 45 percent have no plans to adopt an EHR for Meaningful Use. Not surprisingly, the majority of EHR holdouts are solo practitioners (71 percent).

Among the reasons for not having an EHR system capable of meeting Meaningful Use requirements include, providers cite:

  • Upfront financial investment (72 percent)
  • Additional burden to an already complex delivery process (70 percent)
  • Ongoing maintenance costs (56 percent)

Having to bear the cost alone of implementing an EHR is much more intimidating for solo practitioners than for those who can split the cost among several providers. When an EHR is implemented, however, physician practices tend to see positive results. According to Deloitte’s report, the majority of physicians who have attested to Meaningful Use report better communication and improved care coordination thanks to their EHR, as well as faster and more accurate billing.