Yesterday the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released new data that demonstrate that doctors and hospitals are using electronic health records (EHRs) to provide more information securely to patients and are using that information to help manage their patients’ care.
Doctors, hospitals, and other eligible health care providers that have adopted or meaningfully used certified EHRs can receive incentive payments through the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs. Already, approximately 80 percent of eligible hospitals and more than 50 percent of eligible professionals have adopted EHRs and received incentive payments from Medicare or Medicaid.
By meaningfully using EHRs, doctors and other health care providers prove they have been able to increase efficiency while safeguarding privacy and improving care for millions of patients nationwide. Since the EHR Incentive Programs began in 2011:
- More than 190 million electronic prescriptions have been sent by doctors, physician’s assistants and other health care providers using EHRs, reducing the chances of medication errors.
- Health care professionals sent 4.6 million patients an electronic copy of their health information from their EHRs.
- More than 13 million reminders about appointments, required tests, or check-ups were sent to patients using EHRs.
- Providers have checked drug and medication interactions to ensure patient safety more than 40 million times through the use of EHRs.
- Providers shared more than 4.3 million care summaries with other providers when patients moved between care settings resulting in better outcomes for their patients.
Now, more than ever, EHRs are enabling more patients to access their health information, and allowing health care providers across a variety of settings to share patient medical records and information securely, while still protecting patient privacy.
“Electronic health records are transforming relationships between patients and their health care providers,” said CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. “EHRs improve care coordination, reduce duplicative tests and procedures, help patients take more control of their health and result in better overall health outcomes.“
“More patients than ever before are seeing the benefits of their providers using electronic health records to help better coordinate and manage their care,” said Farzad Mostashari, M.D., national coordinator for health information technology. “These data show that health care professionals are not only adopting electronic health records rapidly, they’re also using them to improve care.”
The Obama administration has encouraged the adoption of health information technology starting with the passage of the Recovery Act in 2009. The Act has been a critical factor in improving the quality of health care and lowering costs, and ultimately transforming our health care delivery system.