Meaningful Use Numbers from 2011 and Looking Towards 2012 – Meaningful Use Monday

HITECH Answers recently posted a great post that gives a run down of the EHR Incentive program’s progress in 2011. Here’s their list with my own analysis and commentary of each point.

123,921 Eligible Professionals have registered for EHR Incentives, 15,255 have successfully attested to meaningful use in the Medicare program.
This seems like such a HUGE difference in numbers. That’s just over 12% of Eligible Professionals that registered attested to meaningful use. Does this mean that we’re going to see a tidal wave of meaningful use attestation in 2012? Possibly.

I believe that we’ll see more eligible professionals attesting to meaningful use in 2012. However, the question is how many of those other 108,666 will attest to meaningful use in 2012 and how many are like the Happy EMR Doctor who just registered to see the MU process. I wonder how many first hand meaningful use experiences by doctors will scare doctors away from MU attestation.

3.077 Eligible Hospitals have registered EHR Incentives and 604 of those have successfully attested to meaningful use.
This is almost 20% of hospitals that have registered that have attested to meaningful use. It’s not surprising that this number is a lot higher than eligible professionals. I still believe that the wave of meaningful use attestation will come from these other 2473 hospitals and probably many more that still haven’t registered. I haven’t seen a good number of how many hospitals are in the US. Does anyone know that number? The EHR incentive money that goes to hospitals will dwarf those of eligible professionals.

$2,533,689,145 has been paid out in Medicare and Medicaid Incentives.
$2.5 billion sent out in 2011. I just went back to the first time I tagged meaningful use on this site on April 3, 2009 (coincidentally I have 19 pages of 10 posts each tagged with Meaningful Use). Amazing to think that it’s taken basically 3 years to spend $2.5 billion on EHR.

277 hospitals have received payments under both Medicare and Medicaid and of those 12 were CAHs.
That’s about half of the hospitals that have attested to meaningful use under Medicare are also getting the Medicaid EHR incentive money as well.

22% of eligible professionals that have been paid EHR incentives are Family Practitioners and 20% are Internal Medicine.
I must admit that I would have thought that the percentage of family doctors that got paid EHR incentive money would have been a lot higher. I guess when you have so many other specialty areas I shouldn’t be that surprised. I also wonder why the internal medicine number is so high. These numbers actually make me believe that a lot of family practice doctors are sitting out when it comes to meaningful use.

41 States Medicaid programs were open for registration. Two additional States launched in January of 2012.
I wonder what’s holding back the other 7 states. From what I’ve seen all the states will eventually get there.

More than 1500 EHR products have been certified by ONC-ATCBs.
That’s a lot of EHR software. I still put the EHR company list at about 300 EHR vendors. 1500 includes multiple versions of the same software, partial EHR certification for products like data warehouses, ePrescribing, etc. The best thing that’s come from the ONC-ATCB program is that it has made EHR certification basically irrelevant in the EHR selection process. Every EHR vendor is certified now. This is much better than the false assurances that EHR certification provided before. I still dislike what EHR certification has done to the industry, but at least it’s not misleading doctors the same way it was before.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • John,
    Thanks for posting the 2011 MU statistics. I agree the number of EP not attesting was substantial. The question is, what will help drive them toward meaningful use in 2012? Will they reply on EHR vendors for help? Will they realize the value of RECs? Does this represent an opportunity for consultants offering help walking them through this process? It appears the need for supplemental help is apparent.

  • Rob,
    I think you’re right that there needs to be some additive in the water to help kick them off the curb. Quite frankly, I don’t know what additive will work. However, I don’t believe anything that you mentioned will be it. As usual it’s easier to see what won’t work than what will work.

  • John and Rob, my company created a program called Worry Free that combines a tool and service to provide full life cycle management of MU for my customers. If anyone tries to do this w/o some process and automation, cost would be way too high. I spent the last 2 years helping organizations and practices with MU and got frustrated with the effort and cost of it. There is definitely a simpler way to MU and I have personal proof of it. As for REC, having worked with my share, I think most will struggle w/o getting some “professional” MU help.

  • David,
    I think you described MU quite well. With some process it’s not too bad. Trying to figure out the process, it’s a mess.

  • John, when I first work with a customer, there are always 2 questions that need answering. First, Where the heck am I with MU? And second, what the heck do I need to do to achieve MU? When you can answer both of these questions within the first interaction and not cost the practices thousands of dollars to provide the MU assistance, then I found there’s a nice balance between cost and benefit. It’s going to be a crazy 2012. This is the year where for most, real MU starts given that many did the AIU (on Medicaid side at least) and for Medicare, you have to start this year to get full benefit.

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