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80% of REC Primary Care Providers Succeeded at Meaningful Use

Regional extension centers worked with eligible providers to demonstrate Stage 1 Meaningful Use with much success.

By Sara Heath

Nearly 80 percent of all regional extension center (REC) primary care providers have attested to meaningful use for the EHR Incentive Programs as of the beginning of this year, according to data from the Office of the National Coordination for Health IT (ONC).

In a breakdown by state, ONC data show that all states have had at least 50 percent of its RECs attest to meaningful use. Some states, such as Kansas, have attestation rates as high as 98 percent. North Carolina had the lowest rate of meaningful use attestation with only 61 percent of its RECs attesting to the program.

ONC data also shows that the REC program has exceeded its goal to assist 100,000 priority primary care providers (PPCPs) in successfully attesting to meaningful use. The REC program met this goal after first getting 100,000 PPCPs to sign up for REC programs and then helping all of them adopt EHR technology. In total, 98 percent of PPCPs have fully adopted an EHR, and 80 percent of them (112,804 providers) had demonstrated meaningful use by September 2014.

Most of the PPCPs demonstrating meaningful use are providers not at a specialty practice or a larger private practice. Over three quarters of these providers work at a practice consortium, rural hospital, or smaller private practice.

Public hospitals, rural health clinics, critical access hospitals, and community health centers also comprise a majority of the PPCPs that have adopted an EHR and demonstrated meaningful use.

Percent of REC-support eligible providers to demonstrate meaningful use

Nearly all kinds of provider sites have adopted EHR technology, with 100 percent of comprehensive primary care initiative sites adopting EHR technology. Over 95 percent of rural primary care providers, advanced primary care initiative sites, federally qualified health centers, critical access hospitals have all adopted EHR technology.

Meaningful use demonstration is slightly less widespread among those provider sites. Ninety-two percent of comprehensive primary care initiative sites have demonstrated meaningful use, while about three quarters of rural primary care and advanced primary care sites have attested. Only 70 percent of federally qualified health centers and critical access hospitals had attested.

EHR adoption is also pretty ubiquitous across specialty. Internal medicine, family practice, primary care, OB-GYN, geriatric, and pediatric providers all had approximately 95 percent EHR adoption rates.

REC primary care meaningful user practice specialty

Meaningful use attestation fell off a little bit, with 84 percent of internal medicine providers attesting and only 72 percent of pediatric providers attesting.

When breaking down the number by provider credentials, ONC shows that a majority of providers have both adopted an EHR and demonstrated meaningful use. In fact, 100 percent of chiropractors have done both.

Credentials of REC-supported meaningful users

Other providers, like doctors of medicine, nurse practitioners, certified nurses and midwives, and physician’s assistants all also had high rates of EHR adoption, with at least 95 percent of them adopting the technology.

Meaningful use attestation dropped off in this category as well, with as little as 70 percent of physician’s assistants attesting to program, and nearly 80 percent of medical doctors attesting.

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