At the 98th meeting of the Radiological Society of North America in Chicago on Nov. 26, 2012, Keith J. Dreyer, DO, PhD, vice chairman of radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and associate professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School, discussed the future of imaging informatics in the face of meaningful use.
CMS’ meaningful use program is one of the ways the federal government is focusing on quality, safety and access with healthcare, said Dr. Dreyer. By urging providers to use certified electronic health record technology, the federal government is hoping that safety and quality of healthcare will increase while the cost of healthcare will decrease. According to Dr. Dreyer, physicians and radiologists need incentives to have a patient-centric focus in their healthcare decisions and that is what meaningful use is — an incentive.
Dr. Dreyer pointed out that more than 50 percent of physicians and 80 percent of hospitals have enrolled in the meaningful use program, with payments passing $7 billion, from when meaningful use legislation as part of the HITECH Act was first passed in February 2009 to when the most recent regulations — stage 2 of meaningful use — were released.
“What does this mean for radiologists? Well, nearly all radiologists are eligible for the program. In 2011, 32 percent of radiologists said they planned to participate, and in 2012, that percentage has doubled,” said Dr. Dreyer. “While meaningful use can be a challenge for radiologists, there are various exclusions and temporary exemptions available. The thing to remember is that the stages of meaningful use are important.”
The stage 2 regulations for meaningful use have two specific objectives for imaging:
- Image ordering measure: Physicians have to use certified electronic health record technology to order more than 30 percent of imaging exams.
- Image results measure: Physicians have to use CEHRT to receive more than 10 percent of imaging results.
Dr. Dreyer concluded his presentation by commenting on the futures state of radiology and healthcare in general. “There are four metrics that I see as being important: productivity, profitability, performance and presence. The future of healthcare technology will hinge mostly on performance and presence. [Going forward], quality and relevance can drastically increase,” said Dr. Dreyer. “Productivity may take a hit for a while, and if you hinge your profits to productivity, you may see decreases. However, if profits are tied to quality and performance metrics, there will be better outcomes in the long run.”
Source: www.beckershospitalreview.com; Kathleen Roney; November 28, 2012.