Recently, some in the national media and a very few in Congress have questioned the value of investing in health information technology and the progress the nation is making toward the adoption of electronic health records and achievement of universal interoperability. However, the huge chasm between current medical science and standards of practice has long been recognized in healthcare. (See Berwick, “Disseminating Innovations in Healthcare” 2003, and the 2001 IOM Study, “Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century,” just to name two.)
Many reasons exist for this perceived slowness for advances in medicine to evolve to become standard practices. Yet, some decision makers and observers are apparently disappointed that adoption of electronic health records and nationwide exchange of health information are not yet realities.
But, consider the following information.
The meaningful use program is not even four years old.
- The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, including the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act), was signed into law on Feb. 17, 2009.
- Meaningful Use Stage 1 Final Rule was released on July 13, 2010.
- Meaningful Use Stage 2 Final Rule was released on Sept. 4, 2012.
The Meaningful Use EHR Incentive Program has not even been in operation for two years, and already, has resulted in a significant increase in adoption rates.
- The Medicaid EHR Incentive Program became operational in January 2011;
- The Medicare EHR Incentive Program became operational in May 2011;
which means…the meaningful use program is just three-and-a-half years old.
The HITECH Act and meaningful use program can only be rated as a great success.
- In less than three years, the EHR adoption rates continue to increase, and interoperability and exchange of information across systems is continuing to improve.
- With the publication of the Meaningful Use Stage 2 Final Rule, an increasing number of eligible providers and eligible hospitals are expressing their intent to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Program.
- All the statistics, including those published by CMS, ONC and CDC, and substantiated by HIMSS Analytics’ Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM), support the growing success of HITECH and the meaningful use program.
Realizing these achievements in so little time is astonishing.
Do you agree? Add your perspective in the comments.
- Donald M. Berwick, MD, “Disseminating Innovations In Health Care,” JAMA, April 16, 2003, Vol. 289, No. 15 pages 1969-1975.
- Institute of Medicine (IOM), Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century, March 2001.
- Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services EHRs Incentive Program statistics as of August 2012 website.
- HIMSS Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM) website.