As more physicians adopt electronic health record systems in their practices, policy interest is focusing on whether physicians are ready to meet the federal “meaningful use” criteria—a vital threshold to qualify for financial incentives. In our analysis of a 2011 nationally representative survey of office-based physicians, we found that 91 percent of physicians were eligible for Medicare or Medicaid meaningful-use incentives. About half of all physicians intended to apply. However, only 11 percent both intended to apply for the incentives and had electronic health record systems with the capabilities to support even two-thirds of the stage 1 core objectives required for meaningful use. Although the federal Medicare incentives will be available through 2016, and Medicaid incentives through 2021, widespread gaps in readiness throughout the states illustrate the challenges physicians face in meeting the federal schedule for the incentive programs.
Hsiao, Chun-Ju; Decker, Sandra L.; Hing, Esther; Sisk, Jane E., Health Affairs, Online first, DOI: 10.1377/hlthaff.2011.1315