MGMA data show 'meaningful use' requirements will lead to decreased physician productivity unless changed

ENGLEWOOD, Colo., Mar. 4, 2010 – New research conducted by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) suggests that the changes in practice operations necessary to meet the 25 "meaningful use" criteria proposed as part of the Medicare electronic health record (EHR) incentive program would lead to decreased provider productivity. The research also identified which meaningful use criteria could prove particularly challenging for physicians to accomplish.

Respondents to MGMA's questionnaire were asked to estimate the change in provider productivity resulting from the implementation of all 25 of the meaningful use criteria, not including the temporary decrease in productivity that occurs with any implementation of a new EHR. More than two-thirds of respondents (67.9 percent) said that physician productivity will decrease, with 31 percent stating that physician productivity will decrease more than 10 percent.

"For the incentive program to succeed, the meaningful use criteria must be practical and achievable," said William F. Jessee, MD, FACMPE, MGMA president and CEO. "If the final rule mirrors those outlined in the current proposal, there is a significant risk that the program will fail to meet the intent of the legislation, and that a historic opportunity to transform the nation's healthcare system will be missed."

"In order to justify the high cost of software, hardware and staff training, the deployment of an EHR system in a medical group must produce administrative efficiencies and not result in a sustained and significant decrease in productivity," Jessee said.  "It is clear that the transition to electronic health information technologies must begin by successfully aligning incentives with overall cost to the implementing entities."

The MGMA research also highlights the specific criteria that many respondents say would be "difficult" or "very difficult" to achieve.  These include:

  • The proposed requirement that 80 percent of all patient requests for an electronic copy of their health information be fulfilled within 48 hours (45.9 percent) and
  • The proposed requirement that 10 percent of all patients be given electronic access to their health information within 96 hours of the information being available (53.5 percent).

"We remain strong advocates for the adoption of EHRs in medical groups and urge the administration to significantly streamline the incentive program requirements in the final rule to permit dramatically larger numbers of practices to embrace this important technology," Jessee said.

MGMA conducted the research in January and February 2010, and data include feedback from 445 respondents representing (insert # of providers) providers in medical group practices throughout the United States.

Access the 2010 MGMA Meaningful Use Research summary

Access comments made by research respondents

About MGMA 

MGMA is the premier membership association for professional administrators and leaders of medical group practices. Since 1926, MGMA has delivered networking, professional education and resources, and political advocacy for medical practice management. Today, MGMA's 21,500 members lead 13,700 organizations nationwide in which some 275,000 physicians provide more than 40 percent of the health care services delivered in the United States.

MGMA's mission is to continually improve the performance of medical group practice professionals and the organizations they represent. MGMA promotes the group practice model as the optimal framework for health care delivery, assisting group practices in providing efficient, safe, patient-focused and affordable care. MGMA is headquartered in Englewood, Colo., and maintains a government affairs office in Washington, D.C. Please visit mgma.com and follow our Twitter list to find out which medical practices are using social media.

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