With changes in the final electronic health records meaningful use rule making most radiologists eligible for federal incentives if they meet the criteria, the race is on to make sure radiology information technology vendors are well aware of the program and upgrading their systems.

The worry is that radiology vendors are behind the learning curve, says Keith Dreyer, M.D., vice chair of radiology informatics at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. "I think there's quite a bit they don't know," he adds.

That's why Dreyer will co-present an education session targeting radiology vendors during RSNA 2010, Nov. 28-Dec. 3 in Chicago. And the title, "Meaningful Use for Radiology I.T. Vendors: What Your Consumers Will Demand and Your Competition Will Provide," should get their attention.

Certified core electronic health records don't apply to radiology under the meaningful use program, but software modules such as picture archiving and communication systems and radiology information systems do apply--and vendors of these products aren't yet getting them certified, Dreyer notes. Other modules that need certification include reporting, voice recognition, image sharing, patient portal and business analytics applications.

Asked what he'll tell vendors about meaningful use that they don't already know, Dreyer is blunt. "A lot of them don't even know what it means to be certified. If you polled 100 radiology vendors, 30 wouldn't have a clue what you're talking about, 10 would be on their way and the rest would be scrambling to figure out what to do."

Further, pressure soon will build for radiologists to become meaningful EHR users, he believes. States are looking at requiring meaningful use as a condition of licensure, which is a requirement that private insurers and medical boards also are considering, Dreyer adds. "So, the writing's on the wall for radiologists."

The session, code IX11, is scheduled at 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 28. More information is available at rsna.org.

--Joseph Goedert


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