The Urban Institute—Health Policy Center The Congressional Budget Office
Background: To promote the widespread adoption and use of electronic health records (EHRs), in 2011, CMS started making Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments to providers who demonstrate that they are “meaningful users” of certified EHR systems. Data and Methods: This paper combines an expert opinion method, a modified Delphi technique, with a technological diffusion framework to create a forecast of the percent of office-based physicians who will become adopters and “meaningful users” of health information technology from 2012 to 2019. The panel consisted of 18 experts from industry, academia, and government who are knowledgeable about the adoption and use of EHRs in office-based settings and are recognized as opinion leaders in their respective professions. Results: Overall, the expert panel projected that primary care physicians in large group practices are more likely to achieve the meaningful use of EHRs relative to primary care physicians in small group practices and all other specialists: the group projected that 65 percent of primary care physicians in large group practices, 45 percent of primary care physicians in small group practices, and 44 percent of all other specialists could achieve meaningful use by 2015. In 2019, these projections increase to 80 percent, 65 percent, and 66 percent for these three groups, respectively. Conclusions and Policy Implications: The information from this study is especially valuable when there is a lack of data and a high degree of uncertainty in a new policy environment and could help inform and evaluate government programs, such as the Regional Extension Centers (REC), by providing data from leading experts.
Keywords: Health Policy / Politics / Law / Regulation, Incentives in Health Care, Information Technology, Primary Care, Program Evaluation, Qualitative Research, Technology Adoption / Diffusion / Use, Medicare Medicaid