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Meaningful Use: What About Specialists?

If you are medical or surgical specialist, you’re probably groaning about the prospect of implementing some of the meaningful use criteria. According to an article on Healthcare Technology Online:

Every one of the six core clinical quality measures (and most of the 38 additional clinical quality measures) are focused on primary care. Moreover, the recently-formed, 24-member Quality Measures Workgroup…only includes two specialists – a hematologist and a psychiatrist.

The typical primary care doctor sees 18 to 20 patients a day (most of these being follow-up visits), whereas the average specialist may see 50 to 60 patients in a day, many of whom are new patients. And follow-up visits are generally easier to see in an EMR system, because the patient’s core information is already entered. So, for EMR to make financial sense for specialists, they need to make sure the software is matched to their style of seeing patients and that their workflow processes are as efficient as possible.

Are you a specialist? How do you foresee the implementation of the meaningful use criteria affecting your bottom line? Leave us a comment below.

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  1. In Canada, healthcare is a provincial matter. In BC, where I practice, meaningful use criteria were recently announced for specialists. This allows us to choose the EMR of our choice and get compensated based on what levels we reach in these criteria without there being a need for vendor certification. This is a good thing for physician flexibility but doesn’t help answer the question as to which EMR to opt for and how this will impact on practices. As a longtime EMR practitioner, about to switch to yet another EMR, I know full well the impact of implementation but look forward to each small step forward. Although direct ROI hard to calculate, there are too many indirect benefits in retrieving data to have me ever turn back.

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