PCPs most likely doctors to qualify for 'meaningful use' incentives

April 7, 2011

As a physician practicing family, or internal medicine, you are more likely than your colleagues in pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, psychiatry, or other medical specialties to quality for Medicare- or Medicaid-related incentives for achieving ?meaningful use? of electronic health records (EHRs). That?s the finding of an analysis of federal survey data by Brian K. Bruen, lead research scientist in the Department of Health Policy in the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, Washington, DC, and colleagues.

As a physician practicing family or internal medicine, you are more likely than your colleagues in pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, psychiatry, or other medical specialties to quality for Medicare- or Medicaid-related incentives for achieving “meaningful use” of electronic health records (EHRs). That’s the finding of an analysis of federal survey data by Brian K. Bruen, lead research scientist in the Department of Health Policy in the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, Washington, DC, and colleagues.

The researchers found that more than 90% of primary care physicians were eligible for the incentives, compared with 66% of psychiatrists, 64% of obstetricians/gynecologists, and 53% of pediatricians.

But practice type also was found to relate to eligibility: 96% of physicians practicing in community health centers qualified for the incentives, compared with 87% of those working in medical/academic health centers or hospitals, 85% of doctors working in physician-owned group practices, 82% of those working in physician-owned solo practices, and 39% of physicians working in health maintenance organizations.

The investigators recommend that the government act to lessen disparities among medical fields and practice types and to increase the adoption and use of EHRs.

The study is published in the March issue of Health Affairs.

x