In a survey of leaders at hospitals, health system and physician practices, just 9 percent reported they’ve fully implemented products that meet the requirements of the 2015 edition of Certified EHR Technology (CEHRT), though 41 percent said they’re in the process of doing so.
The report from the eHealth Initiative collected online responses from 107 industry professionals, mostly in executive, IT or administrative leadership positions or members of the clinical staff. Beyond the few that are fully compliant with 2015 CEHRT and the larger group that said they’re in the implementation process, providers seem scattered in terms of their preparedness: 13 percent said they’re in the planning or evaluation phase with 2015 CEHRT, 12 percent said they’re waiting on guidance from their IT vendors, 7 percent said they’re aware of the requirements but haven’t started the process and 3 percent said they both haven’t started and weren’t aware of the 2015 standards. Another 15 percent said they weren’t sure where their organizations stood.
The lack of full implementation shows why major healthcare organizations welcomed CMS’s decision to allow 2014 edition CEHRT for reporting in Merit-based Incentive Payment System next year. Providers can earn a bonus of up to 10 points by upgrading to the 2015 edition, though stakeholders doubt this would provide a sufficient return on their investment.
“It may not be enough to pursue it, but it is great preparation for 2019, when we think the 2015 edition will be required,” Michael Marron-Stearns, MD, CEO of health IT consulting firm Apollo HIT, said at the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) conference in Los Angeles.
Overall, survey respondents seemed to support the use of technology in healthcare: 63 percent agreed that tech has helped increase quality since 2008 and 55 percent said “great progress” has been made in using technology to increase patient engagement. Some 79 percent agreed strong interoperability is key to a successful transition to value-based care and 58 percent said they’d be increasing the interoperability budgets over the next two to three years.
While there was strong support for the need for interoperability, 68 percent said the current solutions aren’t meeting those needs. On the regulatory side, 72 percent said they were “very concerned” about changing regulations and the resulting costs of compliance—and nearly half (47 percent) said the industry should “self-regulate” on technology standards.
“There is some perception that regulations are driving interoperability,” the report said. “Interoperability changes should be driven by business value.”
Contradicting that deregulatory stance, however, were responses asking for regulators to do more to encourage the transition to value-based care. 71 percent said additional federal incentives were needed to “enable delivery system transformation,” and only 29 percent felt current policies and regulations would be enough to achieve meaningful interoperability by 2020.