EHR adoption rates are increasing in recent years, this trend may be caused by the HITECH Act or just a general desire for more effective patient processing and care. With the implementation of EHR’s data is being gathered and being put to use more than ever.
HITECH Act Influence
There has recently been an increase in healthcare providers adopting EHRs. 71.8% of office-based medical practices have reported using some type of EHR, as of 2012. This is due in part to the financial incentives authorized by the 2009 HITECH Act. Under the HITECH Act, practices can receive incentives from Medicare and Medicaid for achieving meaningful use, thereby improving EHR documentation and making it possible to collect data that can be used for surveillance or tracking purposes.
HITECH also supports the development of infrastructure for the sharing of data between organizations. The Query Health project from the Office of the National Coordinator on Health Information Technology, aims to create preliminary standards and services for EHR population health surveillance systems that rely on distributed data.
The CDC’s project, “Demonstrating the Preventative Care Value of Health Information Exchanges” (DPCV) collects EHR data for public health purposes. This project has been researching the possibility of using data from HIEs to quantify preventive care delivery. The DPCV has also recorded the various challenges encountered by project sites, such as difficulties aligning priorities, concern about sharing data with government analysts, and the lack of interoperability. By taking note of these problems, the DPCV can work to improve the process.
Collecting data for surveillance and tracking can greatly improve the health of the public. Through these initiatives, meaningful use will be achieved, EHR adoption will increase, and data can be shared to improve the quality of care in the United States.
Author: Lauren Daniels