Just a decade ago, the adoption of electronic health records and other health information technology (such as computer physician order entry) was minimal in the United States. Fewer than 10 percent of American hospitals had implemented HIT while a mere 16 percent of primary care physicians used any form of EHRs. But that is all changing.
The HITECH Act, part of the 2009 economic stimulus package passed by Congress, aimed at inducing more physicians to adopt EHR as a way to improve quality, safety, efficiencies and access. Title IV of the act, in fact, promises maximum incentive payments for Medicaid to those physicians who adopt and use “certified EHRs” beginning in 2011. On the flip side, physicians who do not convert to EHRs by 2015 will be penalized by a reduction in Medicare payments.