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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Brown: Meaningful Use of EHRs May Not Lead to Improved Performance on Post-Acute Utilization Indicators

Hospitals with Meaningful Use (MU) Stage 1 designation did not show significantly higher improvement on post-acute utilization indicators compared to their counterparts without, according to a new study led by Dr. Yanick Brice of the Department of Health Services, Policy and Practice, and the Center for Evidence Synthesis in Health.

Recent federal legislation has incentivized providers to adopt and use certified electronic health records (EHRs) in ways the can improve patient care, referred to as “Meaningful Use”. The researchers used Medicare claims data from 160 short-stay hospitals, Medicare EHR Incentive Program Payments files, and other hospital data to assess whether higher levels of meaningful use were associated with hospital post-acute utilization indicators, including 30-day hospital-wide all-cause readmission and 30-day emergency department (ED) utilization rates, from 2009 to 2012.

The results of the study, published in Health Services Research, indicate that the adoption of meaningful use of EHRs over the study period was not associated with a decrease in readmission or ED use. The researchers suggest regulators should strengthen accountability by linking comprehensive, outcomes-based performance measures to specific MU objectives.