In a letter Feb. 25 to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, the American Hospital Association recommended guiding principles for decision-making on Stage 2 requirements for meaningful use of electronic health records and commented on the Health IT Policy Committee's preliminary recommendations. If accepted, the committee's recommendations would form the basis of Stage 2 requirements for hospitals and eligible professionals to qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments.
"While the AHA strongly supports the accelerated adoption and use of electronic health records to improve patient care, we have significant concerns with some of the recommendations being considered by the HITPC and the 2013 proposed date for beginning of Stage 2," AHA wrote. "Successful completion of Stage 1 by the majority of providers and thorough analysis of its impact are necessary before the adoption of additional objectives and more stringent measures."
The letter also includes data from a January 2011 survey of almost 1,300 hospitals to provide a snapshot of the hospital field's current capacity to meet the Stage 1 meaningful use requirements. The survey found great commitment to the incentive programs, with 95% of respondents planning to pursue meaningful use. However, the survey also found that only 1.6% of hospitals (21 respondents) can meet the meaningful use and certification requirements today.