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44% of eligible providers have received EHR incentive payments


Forty-four percent of the nation's eligible providers have received electronic health records incentive payments from the federal government, according to CMS.

Forty-four percent of the nation's eligible providers have received electronic health records (EHR) incentive payments from the federal government, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

That equates to about 230,000 providers who are "meaningfully using" EHR technology, CMS said in a statement.

More than 388,000 providers-about 73% of those eligible-have registered for the program, according to CMS. As of the end of March, the federal government had paid about $13.7 billion to providers under the EHR incentive program, which began making payments in 2011.

There's little doubt that most physicians are pleased to receive payments to help them defray the costs of EHRs, but to what extent they're pleased with their EHR systems is another matter.

A survey of 17,000 active EHR users earlier this year found that 23% of physician practices are frustrated enough with the software to consider switching vendors.

Separately, another survey this year found that user satisfaction with EHRs is in decline, down 12 percentage points from 2010 to 2012. At the same, time, the percentage of users who classified themselves as "very dissatisfied" with their EHRs increased 10 percentage points.

A recent report by six Senate Republicans took note of rising concerns with EHRs. The report cited five major concerns with the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, a 2009 law that appropriated $35 billion to promote the use of HIT by physicians, hospitals, and other health providers. Those concerns were lack of interoperability among EHR systems, increased costs, lack of oversight, risk to patient privacy, and a lack of clarity on the program's sustainability.


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