Meaningful Use IQ Test Results

The response to last week’s Meaningful Use IQ Test revealed a tremendous thirst for information and a fair amount of confusion about the facts and realities of meaningful use. Neither was terribly surprising, given the recent hype surrounding the program’s launch and the complexity of the regulations.

Since the quiz was posted last week, 534 people have taken the test. The average score was 56% (see chart below and the breakdown of responses at the bottom of the page). These results mean that physicians will need a great deal of assistance from consultants, Regional Extension Centers, and vendors to succeed in their pursuit of the EHR incentives. If that aid is not forthcoming, there could be a large number of very disappointed providers when the incentives are distributed.

Meaningful Use IQ Test Results

The following are some observations:

  • Only a small minority of our test-takers (9%) appear to truly understand the regulations and the requirements in their entirety. (Inga, from HIStalkPractice.com is one of the few who just might—based on her perfect score!)
  • Many people find the intricacies of the regulations baffling—as indicated by more than half of the respondents (300 of 534) knowing half or less of the information.
  • The fact that over one-third of the respondents did not know that providers cannot collect Medicare EHR incentives and Medicare ePrescribing incentives in the same year—no “double dipping” allowed—means that they have likely not analyzed their options to maximize the total revenue from the two incentive programs.
  • I thought it was interesting that nearly half of the respondents thought that the program requires reporting on only Medicare and Medicaid patients, when, in reality, the government is requiring providers to submit data on all patients.
  • Clearly, the message has come through that the program has been made more specialist-friendly, as physicians will be able to exclude measures that are not relevant to their practices. However, many do not understand how these exclusions factor into the demonstration of meaningful use.

The Meaningful Use IQ Test is still active, so if you haven’t accepted the challenge yet, you can still do so. I’m glad that it is raising awareness and providing valuable education. That was precisely its purpose!

Meaningful Use IQ Test Results

ePrescribing—A Great First Step

In contrast to the concerns I have expressed in prior posts about the government’s EHR incentives plan, the Medicare ePrescribing program is an example of the appropriate way to reconcile the goals of the government with the needs and motivations of practicing physicians, on whose participation the success of the program depends.

The ePrescribing program should serve as a model for other government plans. It aligns the interests of all parties, delivering the healthcare-reform benefits the government has targeted—interoperability, sharing of data, cost savings, and improved quality of care through reduction of errors and adverse drug interactions—while simultaneously offering added value to physicians. The latter is the missing link in the proposed EMR incentives program.

With the right ePrescribing software, physicians improve practice workflow by using office staff more efficiently and by writing prescriptions in less time. At the same time, they make better-informed Rx decisions, reduce their malpractice exposure, and eliminate repeat patient calls that tie up staff unnecessarily—patient satisfaction increases.  All of these factors lead to increased revenue and greater opportunities for practice growth. In addition to the benefits that accrue to physicians, pharmacies receive accurate, legible scripts that eliminate the need for clarification calls, and insurance companies see fewer claims for multiple-sourced prescriptions. ePrescribing is a win-win-win program for all parties.

Clearly, ePrescribing is inherently less complicated than adoption of a complete EHR. Unlike dealing with all the complexities and nuances of the human condition and its maladies, prescribing drugs electronically is easy because it deals with a finite set of data that is perfectly suited for a digital solution.