Medical Practices Rapidly Switching To Electronic Medical Records, Study Shows

By   |  May 19, 2014

Many U.S. hospitals are speeding their transition to electronic health records in the wake of recently implemented health reform acts, according to a recent study conducted by the RWJF Health & Society Scholars program. Making the switch offers multiple benefits.

President Obama has signed legislation, including the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, as part of the American Recovery and the Reinvestment Act, which includes incentives for doctors to transition to electronic health record (EHR) technology.

The number of hospitals that have gone digital has tripled since 2010, and the study's researchers believe that receiving federal funds to finance the switch is the primary drive behind physicians making the change. The report also found that the number of healthcare providers who use at least a basic electronic health records system increased to 44 percent, jumping nearly two percentage points over the past two years.

The act's stimulus and reimbursement programs primarily focus on the meaningful use aspect of EHR, with the goal of using electronic records to more efficiently share information with other physicians and implement the use of electronic prescribing (e-prescribing).

For medical practices, transitioning to electronic health records and electronic medical records (EMR) also serves to:

  • Reduce medical errors
  • Improve quality of care
  • Lower health care costs
  • Improve point-of-contact care
  • Improve patient access to their health data
  • Enhance heathcare intelligence programs

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