While physicians have often blamed the meaningful use (MU) program for worsening their administrative burden and taking time away from patients, family physicians did believe more than half of the MU criteria was useful.
In a survey published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 480 family physicians in 2015 said 18 of the 31 MU criteria were useful for more than half of their patient encounters. Thirteen of those 18 selected were perceived as useful for more than two-thirds of encounters. Being considered useful, however, didn’t mean that physicians still didn’t consider them a hassle, as four of those 18 criteria were described as “having a high compliance burden.”
Thirteen of the MU requirements were considered useful for less than half of patient encounters. Overall, most physicians favored the MU Stage 1 criteria—which were more related to basic, routine care—than the more complex MU Stage 2. At the time of the survey, most physicians reporting they wouldn’t attest to Stage 2 because of “patient engagement, lack of workflow usability and excessive time consumption.”
Meaningful use is no more, but its criteria lives on in the Advancing Care Information (ACI) category of the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), accounting for 25 percent of a clinician’s composite score. With the perceived benefits and burdens remaining, the survey concluded that taking a more comprehensive view of the MU criteria would be wiser than condemning or praising the program as a whole.
“This study suggests that policymakers should not assess MU in aggregate, but as individual criteria for open discussion,” the survey said.