Physicians Don’t Know About EMR Stimulus Penalties and Don’t Care

Posted on September 24, 2010 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

The Physicians’ Reciprocal Insurers (PRI) recently posted the results of a survey they did of 500 physicians regarding Electronic Medical Records (EMR) software and the EMR stimulus money and penalties. Here’s one of their most interesting findings about EMR implementation:

One significant finding was awareness of financial incentives and penalties for implementing EMR systems. While 85 percent of physicians were aware of the financial incentives for implementing the systems, more than 35 percent did not know that they face government-assessed financial penalties for not complying. The penalties are equal to a one percent reduction of the physician’s annual Medicare payments per year up to five percent. However, those penalties do not seem to be having the intended effect, as more than 65 percent of physicians who were unaware of the financial penalties said this would not cause them to implement EMR.

So, most physicians are aware of the financial incentives of implementing an EMR. This was a bit of a surprise for me, but I guess not a HUGE surprise. The more interesting part is the 35% of physicians that didn’t know about the Medicare penalties and that the majority of those people didn’t think that penalties would cause them to implement an EMR.

Does this mean that doctors won’t be implementing EMR? No, I think that we’re going to see a big uptake in EMR adoption over the next two years. One thing the HITECH act and EMR stimulus money has done is increased the awareness of the good and bad of EMR. This increased awareness will be a great thing and will spur EMR adoption.

What this poll shows is that the EMR stimulus is out of touch with what physicians and medical practices think is important. The real driver for EMR adoption won’t be a government handout. The real driver for EMR adoption will be hundreds of doctors implementing EMR software which makes their life easier, increases their reimbursement and solves the physician pain points. EMR vendors that provide these benefits to their users are going to be in a great position going forward since that’s what doctors consider meaningful use.