Electronic health records are quickly becoming commonplace in some regions, particularly, the United States. One reason for the rapid adoption might lie in the fact that doctors who move to adopt electronic health records receive financial incentives. According to Healthcare IT News, there’s no limit to how much money one practice or other healthcare organization can receive for using EHRs.
The U.S. government could pay as much as $20 billion in incentives by 2015. In 2015, the program “shifts to a penalty.”
The government is pushing the use of electronic health records because in the long run, they improve accuracy and, consequently, patient outcomes. Healthcare workers can more easily share patients’ health information throughout a facility or even across facilities such as from a private practice to a hospital or vice versa.
As EHRs become more widely used, sharing will become easier and accuracy will increase. Before long, doctors could find themselves transferring patient records across the country or around the world.
Although the estimated $20 billion price tag for incentives seems steep, the money that could be saved over time by providing patients with better quality care could prove to be double or triple that amount. Whether doctors want to use them or not, electronic health records are here to stay.
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