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ONC to Congress: EHR Adoption, Meaningful Use Rising Steadily

Posted by Matthew Smith on Jun 28, 2013 3:52:00 PM

United States, Meaningful Use, EHRIn its latest official report to Congress, the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) praises the nation’s progress in health IT adoption, including EHR implementation and participation in the EHR Incentive Programs.  Physician EHR adoption has increased from one in five in 2009 to more than 40% in 2012, due largely to meaningful use requirements and the availability of better technology.

“Information is widely recognized as the lifeblood of modern medicine,” the report says.  “By enabling health information to be used more effectively and efficiently throughout our health system, health IT has the potential to empower providers and patients, make health care and the health system more transparent, enhance the study of care delivery and payment systems, and drive substantial improvements in care, efficiency, and population health.”

As a result of the federal focus on speeding health IT adoption, nearly three-quarters of office-based physicians had started using some form of EHR system by 2012, up from 42% in 2009.  Forty percent used a “basic” EHR, which has advanced capabilities like patient history and demographics, problem and medication lists, and computerized order entry.  That figure is nearly double the 21% of physicians using a basic EHR in 2009.

Despite this measurable progress, the ONC notes that many barriers remain in the quest for universal EHR use.  “Expanding interoperability remains a challenge,” the report admits. “Enabling exchange will involve reducing the cost and complexity of electronichealth information exchange, ensuring trust among the key participants of exchange and encouraging exchange of information, particularly during transitions of care.”  The ONC has been working tirelessly to promote interoperability to vendors and providers, including releasing a request for information to the industry to gather new ideas for boosting health information exchange (HIE) and widely-adopted data standards.

In addition to addressing the technical challenges of HIE, the ONC and CMS have been making a concerted effort to illustrate the business case for data exchange, including the potential to reduce healthcare costs by eliminating repeated tests and procedures, reduce the administrative burden on providers, and foster more coordinated, accountable care.

“As both public and private payers take concrete steps to change the incentives for paying providers, health IT can provide the infrastructure and the data analytics necessary to improved care coordination, better quality, and lower costs,” the report concludes.  “Continued adoption of EHRs and health IT can enable the transformation of health care delivery in order to reduce health care costs and improve the well-being of Americans.”

In its latest official report to Congress, the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) praises the nation’s progress in health IT adoption, including EHR implementation and participation in the EHR Incentive Programs.  Physician EHR adoption has increased from one in five in 2009 to more than 40% in 2012, due largely to meaningful use requirements and the availability of better technology.

“Information is widely recognized as the lifeblood of modern medicine,” the report says.  “By enabling health information to be used more effectively and efficiently throughout our health system, health IT has the potential to empower providers and patients, make health care and the health system more transparent, enhance the study of care delivery and payment systems, and drive substantial improvements in care, efficiency, and population health.”

As a result of the federal focus on speeding health IT adoption, nearly three-quarters of office-based physicians had started using some form of EHR system by 2012, up from 42% in 2009.  Forty percent used a “basic” EHR, which has advanced capabilities like patient history and demographics, problem and medication lists, and computerized order entry.  That figure is nearly double the 21% of physicians using a basic EHR in 2009.

Topics: EHR, Meaningful Use, Health IT, HealthIT, ONC, Congress, IT

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