(HealthDay News) — Most pediatricians use electronic health records (EHRs), yet there are unique obstacles that prevent pediatricians from participating in meaningful use (MU) incentive programs, according to findings published online Dec. 29 in Pediatrics.
Christoph U. Lehmann, M.D., from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., and colleagues examined the prevalence and functionalities of EHRs using a self-administered questionnaire sent to 1,621 pediatricians. The researchers observed a significant increase in the percent of pediatricians using EHRs, from 58 percent in the 2009 survey to 79 percent in 2012. Thirty-one percent used an EHR with basic functionality, while a fully functional EHR was used by 14 percent. Providers who met the criteria for MU eligibility (20 percent or more public insurance patients) were more likely to have an EHR. Practices that were least likely to have adopted an EHR were those with one or two physicians.
In an accompanying perspective piece, Dorothy Miller, J.D., M.P.H., from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and colleagues discuss the obstacles that pediatricians face to adoption and use of EHRs. The authors note that pediatric providers have fewer opportunities to participate in MU incentive programs, with a threshold of 20 percent of encounters with Medicaid-insured children, exclusion of some providers from receiving MU incentives, and lack of centralized reporting. Pediatricians should educate their state and local legislators about the effects of these policies and encourage advocates to push for increased participation in the pediatric MU criteria program.
“Unfortunately, the benefits of these incentives are unnecessarily constrained for pediatricians and the children they serve,” Miller and colleagues write.
One author from the Miller study is co-inventor of the Care Assistant software that supports workflow and decision support.