HHS' Stage 2 proposed standards for meaningful use may require hospitals to offer 80% of patients with the ability to access to view and download their health information via a Web-based portal within 36 hours of discharge. Doctors and other providers must have at least 20% of their patient populations electronically accessing their health information, including access to diagnostic test results. Providers must meet these minimum requirements by October 2012 to qualify for additional stimulus money.
While 90% of more than 300 provider executives surveyed by PwC in the spring of 2010 said they expected to achieve meaningful use standards before the penalties kick in, their confidence is waning slightly as new realities set in and health organizations rethink their work plans to devote more attention on engaging external stakeholders. By the fall of 2010, 82% of the executives said they will meet the timetable.
Henderson said there are significant social, educational, and access barriers that providers are trying to overcome – including a gap in expectations between what patients and physicians want, and conflicting views about turnaround time. PwC's cited one hospital's internal research that found that physicians thought 45 days was a reasonable timeframe for making test results available electronically, while patients expected this information within 30 minutes.
"A patient's medical record and the health information within it should not be a history lesson. Those days are over," Henderson said. "To be meaningful, health information needs to be relevant, actionable, integrated into care and treatment decisions and available in real-time."
PwC's survey also found progress. Nearly one-third of health systems said they are now adding patient input into their meaningful use initiatives, up from 19% last spring. Approximately 50% of health systems are providing assistance to physicians who need support tools for using EMR in their clinical work.