The overarching objective of the Meaningful Use (MU) program was to implement innovative technology measures that would advance overall patient care and improve care delivery.
The EHRIntelligence.com newsletter reported recently that those healthcare providers who effectively demonstrated Meaningful Use of their electronic health records (EHRs) last year were reportedly seeing major cash flow – to the sizable financial tune of nearly $18 billion.
However, many hospitals and physicians have not experienced the same results. These healthcare providers have resultantly gone back to the budgeting drawing board to readjust their revenue cycle management priorities and reassess what needed to get done.
Many of the Meaningful Use objectives call for the sharing of information among providers to improve care through better coordination. One of the problems with using EHR technology to achieve these MU objectives is that EHRs do not provide an accurate source of provider data to make this sharing of information possible. What is needed is a single source of accurate provider information that allows healthcare organizations to unify, manage and share a single verified, custom profile on each of their providers, regardless of where that data exists in their multiple legacy IT systems.
This single, accurate, source for provider information will help healthcare organizations comply with the MU objectives of sharing information, while simultaneously streamlining workflow, improving productivity, speeding billing, optimizing the revenue cycle, and, most importantly, enhancing the coordination of care across the enterprise.
Earlier this year, over 257,000 eligible healthcare providers were hit with meaningful use penalties. Those healthcare providers failing to meet program criteria saw a 1 percent reduction in their Medicare payments. Additionally, 28,000 eligible professionals failing to comply with both Medicare meaningful use and electronic prescribing incentive programs saw an even larger 2 percent drop.
Leading healthcare organizations earlier this year claimed the Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs were working quite well to positively influence patient care. According to estimates from earlier this year, 31 percent of eligible professionals – nearly 78,000 in total – saw adjustments that topped a total of $2,000.
Resounding trepidation of EHR implementation directly driving a smaller healthcare practice or rural hospital further into the ground instead of offering a perhaps much needed ample financial boost was indeed real. Financial limitations and the like meant not all healthcare providers were initially willing to jump onto the meaningful use bandwagon in the first place.
Those healthcare providers eligible for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program nonetheless established their upcoming meaningful use status criteria to successfully steer clear of future payment adjustments.