2011 is the year for meaningful use of EHRs

March 2, 2011

You and other physicians are being called upon to make this year the turning point for adopting and implementing electronic health records (EHRs).

 

You and other physicians are being called upon to make this year the turning point for adopting and implementing electronic health records (EHRs).

Under the HITECH Act passed in 2009, this is the first year healthcare providers can be certified as meaningful users of EHRs and earn financial rewards for doing so. But the federal official in charge of implementing health information technology says that’s not the only reason 2011 is significant.

“The age of meaningful use is only partly about the use of EHRs and the major financial incentives now available to support this. Even more, this new era creates opportunities to revolutionize the work of health professionals and healthcare institutions, and to make them and the healthcare system hugely more effective and efficient,” wrote David Blumenthal, MD, HHS’ national coordinator for Health Information Technology.

Registration for the Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments program began in January. According to a federal survey late last year, 81% of hospitals, and 41% of office-based physicians, were planning to achieve meaningful use and qualify for incentive payments.

More important, Blumenthal wrote, is that providers think of new ways to use EHRs, such as generating safety alerts, calling attention to treatment alternatives and contributing to public health surveillance. Read all of Blumenthal’s message here.