ONC Data Brief Looks at RECs Support of PAs, NPs in EHR Adoption

New Briefs Look at EHR Systems Adoption, Meaningful Use Among HospitalsEHR Adoption Progress for PAs and NPs

Last week the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) released a data brief on how the 62 Regional Extension Centers (RECs) have helped physician assistants and nurse practitioners adopt certified EHR technology and achieve meaningful use. The data brief, Regional Extension Center Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants: Crucial Primary Care Providers on the Path to Meaningful Use, outlines adoption progress made to date by NPs and PAs with support from the RECs.

The brief highlights just how important PAs and NPs are in the health IT adoption process, noting “Operating at the top of their license, NPs and PAs offer treatment, patient education and care coordination. These providers are fundamental to broad expansions of health care and payment reforms facilitated by Meaningful Use6 (MU) of health information technology (IT), electronic health records (EHR), and health information exchange (HIE).”

Highlights from the brief include:

  • Four in five NPs and PAs enrolled with an REC are live with an EHR
  • RECs are working with half of all primary care NPs and 44% of all primary care PAs nationwide
  • Over three-quarters of all primary care NPs and 63% of all primary care PAs in primary care HPSAs are receiving REC assistance
  • NPs and PAs enrolled with an REC are more likely to be paid for AIU and MU
  • NPs and PAs working in FQHCs have the highest rate of EHR adoption (87%) compared to other REC settings

With funding for the RECs set to expire at the end of this year, attention drawn to the accomplishments of the RECs is crucial for their continued survival. As the brief points out, “the data presented demonstrate that RECs have high penetration among these professionals across the country, especially in these high-need areas, and are guiding them to provide better care and promote better health through EHR adoption and meaningful use.”