News Feature | February 11, 2014

National Coordinator For Health IT: EHRs On Track

Rebecca McCurry

By Rebecca McCurry

HTO Karen DeSalvo

Karen DeSalvo, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, writes on the current state of electronic health records

Since the implementation of the HITECH Act in 2009, numerous studies have been done to evaluate how well the program is doing. Karen DeSalvo, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, writes for The Health Care Blog, "We continue to see progress in improving the nation's healthcare system, and a key tool to helping achieve that goal is the increased use of electronic health records by the nation's doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers.

“Doctors and hospitals are using these tools to reduce mistakes and hospital readmissions, provide patients with more information that enable them to stay healthy, and allow for rewarding health care providers for delivering quality, not quantity, of care.”

DeSalvo references 2013 data from the annual National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and calls the results “encouraging,” citing the following:

  • Nearly 80 percent of office-based physicians used some type of electronic health record system, which is an increase of 60 percent since 2001.
  • About half of office-based physicians surveyed said they used a system that qualifies as a basic system.
  • Almost 70 percent of office-based physicians noted their intent to participate in the EHR incentive program.

According to the report, "From 2010 to 2013, physician adoption of 7 of the 17 capabilities required for stage 2 core objectives for meaningful use increase significantly. Electronic prescribing through an EHR and adverse drug event/contraindication alerts had the largest increase among the state 2 capabilities."

DeSalvo concludes, “Overall, we are encouraged to see that physician adoption of EHRs meeting Meaningful Use Stage 2 is increasing significantly and that physicians are recognizing the value of EHRs in the care setting. The report does also tell us there is more to do and we agree. Less than one in three respondents (30 percent) said their EHR facilitated a communication with a patient via e-mail/secure instant messaging.”

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