Small physician practices should not let the meaningful use program dictate their long-term strategy for the adoption of electronic health record systems, according to a report by IDC Health Insights, Healthcare IT News reports.
Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR systems could qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments.
In the report -- titled, "IDC MarketScape: U.S. Ambulatory EMR/EHR for Small Practices 2012 Vendor Assessment" -- IDC said it expects the meaningful use program to fuel an increase in EHR adoption over the next several years. The report also predicted that the U.S. health care industry will experience:
- Improvements of care resulting from increased use of EHR systems;
- Greater adoption of mobile technologies in ambulatory practices; and
- A consolidation of EHR vendors.
The report also includes an evaluation of 11 EHR products from nine vendors that are designed to help small physician practices qualify for meaningful use incentive payments.
Judy Hanover -- IDC Health Insights research director -- said EHRs offer "an unprecedented opportunity for providers in small practices to garner federal incentives for demonstrating meaningful use" (Miliard, Healthcare IT News, 5/30).
However, she added, "If providers allow the constraints of meaningful use to dictate their technology choices and limit the goals for implementation, they may only see the short-term incentives and not the long-term strategic advantage that EHR [systems] can bring to their practices and may fail to compete under health care reform" (Goedert, Health Data Management, 5/30).