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Doctors and Hospitals’ Use of Health IT Has Doubled Since 2012

HHS says more than half of U.S. docs adopt electronic health records (May 22)

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has announced that more than half of all doctors and other eligible providers have received Medicare or Medicaid incentive payments for adopting or meaningfully using electronic health records (EHRs).

The HHS has met and exceeded its goal for 50% of doctor offices and 80% of eligible hospitals to have EHRs by the end of 2013, Sebelius said.

According to a survey issued in 2012 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the percent of physicians using an advanced EHR system was only 17% in 2008. Today, more than 50% of eligible professionals (mostly physicians) have demonstrated meaningful use and received an incentive payment. For hospitals, just 9% had adopted EHRs in 2008, whereas more than 80% have demonstrated meaningful use of EHRs today.

The Obama administration has encouraged the adoption of health information technology (IT), starting with the passage of the Recovery Act in 2009, because it is an integral element of health-care quality and efficiency improvements, the HHS says. Doctors, hospitals, and other eligible providers that adopt and meaningfully use certified EHRs receive incentive payments through the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs. Part of the Recovery Act, these programs began in 2011 and are administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology (ONC).

According to the HHS, the adoption of EHRs is also critical to the broader health care improvement efforts that have started as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. All of these efforts — improving care coordination, reducing duplicative tests and procedures, and rewarding hospitals for keeping patients healthier — are made possible by the widespread use of EHRs.

More than 291,000 eligible professionals and over 3,800 eligible hospitals have received incentive payments from the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.

Source: HHS; May 22, 2013.

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