Stimulating the Adoption of Health Information Technology
Source: The New England of Journal of Medicine
Published at www.nejm.org March 25, 2009 (10.1056/NEJMp0901592)
Auther: David Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.P.
"One of HITECH's most important features is its clarity of purpose. Congress apparently sees HIT — computers, software, Internet connection, telemedicine — not as an end in itself but as a means of improving the quality of health care, the health of populations, and the efficiency of health care systems. ..... "
"...the legislation's most important provision may be $17 billion in financial incentives intended to get doctors and hospitals to adopt and use EHRs..."
"HITECH also threatens financial penalties to spur adoption. Physicians who are not using EHRs meaningfully by 2015 will lose 1% of their Medicare fees, then 2% in 2016, and 3% in 2017...."
"...much will depend on the federal government's skill in defining two critical terms: 'certified EHR' and 'meaningful use.' ONCHIT currently contracts with a private organization, the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology, to certify EHRs as having the basic capabilities the federal government believes they need..."
"....By tying Medicare and Medicaid financial incentives to 'meaningful use,' Congress has given the administration an important tool for motivating providers to take full advantage of EHRs, but if the requirements are set too high, many physicians and hospitals may rebel — petitioning Congress to change the law or just resigning themselves to forgoing incentives and accepting penalties. "