June 4, 2013 — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) 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).
HHS has met and exceeded its goal for 50 percent of doctor offices and 80 percent of eligible hospitals to have EHRs by the end of 2013.
Since the Obama administration started encouraging providers to adopt EHRs, usage has increased dramatically. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey in 2012, the percent of physicians using an advanced EHR system was just 17 percent in 2008. Today, more than 50 percent of eligible professionals (mostly physicians) have demonstrated meaningful use and received an incentive payment. For hospitals, just 9 percent had adopted EHRs in 2008, but today, more than 80 percent have demonstrated meaningful use of EHRs.
Doctors, hospitals, and other eligible providers that adopt and meaningfully use certified electronic health records 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 and the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology.
Efforts that have started as a result of the Affordable Care Act — improving care coordination, reducing duplicative tests and procedures and rewarding hospitals for keeping patients healthier — all were made possible by widespread use of EHRs. Health information technology (IT) systems give doctors, hospitals and other providers the ability to better coordinate care and reduce errors and readmissions that can cost more money and leave patients less healthy. In turn, efforts to improve care coordination and efficiency create further incentive for providers to adopt health IT.
As of the end of April 2013:
- More than 291,000 eligible professionals and over 3,800 eligible hospitals have received incentive payments from the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.
- Approximately 80 percent of all eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals in the United States have received an incentive payment for adopting, implementing, upgrading, or meaningfully using an EHR.
- More than half of physicians and other eligible professionals in the U.S. have received an incentive payment for adopting, implementing, upgrading, or meaningfully using an EHR.