Standards Issued for Electronic Health Records

side note: This is welcomed news for doctors who have long complained that the standards put in place by President Obama were to tough to meet in such a short period of time. I have spoken to numerous physicians who have looked at EMR/EHR as another time-consuming hurdle that seems almost impossible to meet in the time-span provided. I have heard from a few doctors who believe that their medical malpractice insurance costs will go down over their career because they think EMR/EHR will lead to better services, which means happier patients who are less willing to file a lawsuit against a physician.

By ROBERT PEAR
The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The federal government issued new rules Tuesday that will reward doctors and hospitals for the “meaningful use” of electronic health records, a top goal of President Obama.

The rules significantly scale back proposed requirements that the health care industry had denounced as unrealistic.

The Department of Health and Human Services said doctors and hospitals could receive as much as $27 billion over the next 10 years to buy equipment to computerize patients’ medical records. A doctor can receive up to $44,000 under Medicare and $63,750 under Medicaid, while a hospital can receive millions of dollars, depending on its size.

Starting in 2015, hospitals and doctors will be subject to financial penalties under Medicare if they are not using electronic health records.

Dr. Donald M. Berwick, who was sworn in Monday as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said electronic health records would lead to “better, smoother care, more reliable care.”

Even though American health care is known for the use of advanced technology in treating patients, doctors and hospitals have been slow to replace paper records with electronic records.

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