By August 2012, 143, 300 physicians and hospitals throughout the United States received approximately $6.9 billion in Medicare and Medicaid electronic health record payments, since the program began in 2011, according Healthcare IT News.
Because of the incentives, more hospitals and physicians are adopting EHRs and using them meaningfully. This bodes well for patients because it means that physicians and hospitals are more frequently and more accurately recording and sharing important patient information such as “recording objectives for problem list, medications list or medication-allergy list. And there is little difference in performance among physicians and hospitals,” Robert Anthony, a specialist in CMS’ Office of e-Health Standards and Services, told Healthcare IT News. All are performing at high levels, according to Anthony.
The incentives will expire in 2015 and a penalty will be implemented instead; however, if electronic health records prove useful in significantly improving patient outcomes and increasing productivity, a penalty may not be needed to get the last few holdouts to change their minds and start using them.
Because there is no ceiling on the incentives that the government is paying out, it just makes sense for small eligible healthcare facilities to get on the bandwagon and benefit from what electronic health records have to offer and enjoy having a little extra cash on hand as well.
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