Doctors say their EMRs are ready to show meaningful use
Eighty-five percent of healthcare providers believe their ambulatory electronic medical record software will enable them to meet the 2011 meaningful use deadlines being considered by the federal government, according to a new report from KLAS.
However, many respondents say their technology lacks adequate reporting functionality.
For "Ambulatory EMR: On Track for Meaningful Use?" KLAS interviewed more than 1,400 providers about 26 EMR vendors to assess each solution's readiness to meet meaningful use requirements, based on the guidance provided by the federal Health IT Policy Committee in July 2009.
Most respondents believe their EMR will help them meet the proposed government requirements, with Epic, NextGen and athenahealth customers expressing the most confidence and SRSsoft and Amazing Charts clients expressing the least.
Providers also noted a number of functional areas that are still lacking. Foremost among these were EMR reporting tools, patient access to medical records and the ability to share key clinical data.
"Reporting will obviously play a vital role in a provider's ability to meet the proposed meaningful use standards, yet more than 17 percent of providers say reporting is difficult or impossible with their current tools – and another 24 percent report needing specific technical expertise to manipulate the tools provided," said Mark Wagner, director of ambulatory research for KLAS and author of the report.
"To help their clients meet the substantial reporting requirements for meaningful use, many vendors will need to increase the number and complexity of their canned reports, provide a stand-alone reporting application or add a third-party tool that can pull the required data," Wagner added.
The KLAS study also looks closely at the EMRs that excel or struggle with other proposed requirements, such as the digital transmission of pharmacy orders. Of the products in the report, only Allscripts Enterprise had 100 percent of interviewed clients able to digitally transmit qualifying orders. Greenway and e-MDs earned the highest marks for functionality in this area, while MED3000 was considered the most challenged.
Also important in the discussion of digital pharmacy orders is the pharmacy itself. While there are performance differences from one EMR to another, the biggest obstacle to date has been a pharmacy's ability to receive digital transmissions. Most large pharmacy chains are now using systems that can receive transmissions, but many smaller or independent pharmacies lack either the means or the inclination to go digital. Unless meaningful use requires these pharmacies to accept digital transmissions, it could be up to providers to either put pressure on noncompliant pharmacies or discontinue using them.