Masters Thesis

A Policy analysis on electronic health records: meaningful use incentive for eligible professionals

Electronic health care systems have mainly been utilized in professions other than health care such as customer relationship management and resource planning. However, up until recently more health care systems are exploring the pros and cons of an electronic record keeping system. The HITECH Act under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, led by the CMS and ONC, proposes meaningful use among users of EHR systems in the U.S. health care delivery system as a critical national goal. In 2010, the Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published its EHR final rule regarding the incentive program for providers and eligible professionals. The CMS incentive program will provide incentive payments to eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and critical access hospital (CAHs) or acute care hospitals as they adopt, implement, upgrade, and demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology. Health information technology (health IT) will make it possible for health care providers to better manage patient care through secure use and sharing of health information including using EHR instead of paper based medical records (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 2011). The certification process also helps providers and patients be confident that the electronic health information technology products and systems they use are secure, can maintain data confidentially, and can work with other systems to share information. This study intends to understand the significance of implementing health information technology and EHR systems policy in health care to further understand the basis of the CMS incentive programs for providers and groups. The goals of this policy analysis are to assess current status of information technology adoption, estimate EHR system market penetration, and evaluate the barriers to EHR implementation and the economic impacts of EHR implementation. The objective of this study is to improve quality of care and patient information sharing while lowering long term costs and errors among providers and health care organizations. Additionally, this study will identify measures to determine if current or future policies are appropriate in the adoption and implementation of EHRs throughout health care delivery systems and among types of care settings.


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