A recent article on www.radiologymu.org
shared some stats about Meaningful Use and radiology. While the percentage of radiologists who have attested for Meaningful Use is still quite small (less than 12%), those radiologists who have attested have received a fair amount in incentive funds (more than $60 million).
I was happy to see that of the 75 Certified EHR technology solutions (CEHRT) used by radiologists to attest, Merge Healthcare’s CEHRT was the most widely used. That makes sense given our large customer base and early state on Meaningful Use certification for our Merge RIS. We made a commitment to this program on behalf of our radiology customers in late 2010, and became the first major RIS vendor to receive complete EHR certification
for Meaningful Use for radiology.
There’s been some uncertainty surrounding the applicability of the Meaningful Use program to radiology since the beginning. Meeting many of the core requirements is challenging because the requirements and workflows are focused more on primary care than radiology. Determining which requirements need to be met can be time-consuming to figure out. Because radiologists typically read for multiple facilities, they’re dependent on those facilities having CEHRT available for them to use.
Uncertainty and challenges aside, Merge has been and will continue to be a supporter of Meaningful Use for radiology. In the early days of Stage 1, it was important for Merge to certify our radiology-specific technology so radiologists could participate in the Meaningful Use program without having to sacrifice radiology workflow. It took work from Merge and, more importantly, participation from our clients to get to where we are now … solutions that are custom made for their specific needs and workflow.
As we look ahead to 2014, when Merge will have re-certified our technology to prepare for Meaningful Use Stage 2, our support for the program for radiologists is stronger than ever. One key reason is that Stage 2 provides an opportunity for radiology practices to improve their overall referral patterns and processes. Although Stage 1 doesn’t have many criteria geared toward radiology, a key metric in Stage 2 for referring physicians is the ability to incorporate medical images into their own electronic health records. Indeed, Stage 2 requires physicians to demonstrate electronic image ordering, report creation and even the ability to view images within each patient’s electronic health record. Those radiology businesses that can exchange information electronically with their referring physicians and help them attest to MU Stage 2 will have a distinct advantage over those practices that can only provide paper reports and faxes.
If you’d like more information about attesting for Stage 1 or what’s coming with Stage 2, Merge offers a variety of white papers, webinars, case studies and other resources on our website at http://www.merge.com/Trends/Meaningful-Use