Health Care Providers Take Advantage of Government Incentives for Meaningful Use of EHRs

There have been many advances in Health Information Technology (HIT) however; many medical institutions and health care providers have been reluctant to move forward in utilizing them. Many providers have chosen to remain paper-based – which can cause a wide range of errors and inefficiencies.In 2009 the federal government decided to promote HIT with the passage of the HITECH Act within the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This act makes incentive funds available to health care providers who begin to utilize a certified electronic health record (EHR), as long as they use it to achieve specific goals, showing meaningful use.Meaningful Use basically means that health care providers have to show significant measurable use of the EHR technology. Just a couple of the ways meaningful use can be shown is through e-prescribing and electronic exchange of health information to improve quality of care. The incentives for meaningful use of a certified EHR are put in place with the desired result of coordinated high quality care for patients.The Department for Health and Human Services recently announced that, through a survey completed by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), approximately 81 percent of hospitals plan to implement meaningful use of a certified EHR in order to take advantage of the government offered incentive payments. Of those providers they estimate that 65% will enroll during the 1st stage of the incentive program which takes place in 2011-2012. In addition to hospitals, it is estimated that 41 percent of office-based physicians plan to take advantage of the incentive payments and implement meaningful use of a certified EHR as well.The implementation of certified EHR’s should bring more organization and effectiveness to the way health care is provided today. In the end health care should become more efficient with a better service being for patients.