In 2011, the Federal Government began to recognize and reward Health Systems that had achieved certain milestones in the adoption of Electronic Medical Records (EHR) within their sites and throughout the medical staff. These Medicare and Medicaid incentives were enacted to encourage use of Health Information Technology (HIT) for inpatient care, followed by penalties for failure to adopt HIT. Additional Incentives for Physician Practice use of HIT in the office setting were also mandated. This Government-led development of HIT standards will allow nationwide electronic information exchange that will strengthen patient privacy and security and will adhere to the law to prevent misuses of health information. Additional funding for deployment of broadband infrastructure in un-served and under-served areas was also enacted.
In order to demonstrate “Meaningful Use” of HIT in Hospital and Physician Offices, hospitals were to adopt Certified Electronic Health Records Technologies by implementing core EHR systems including Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) & Electronic medication prescribing. EHR systems were required to be certified as well. Hospitals also needed to report on Clinical Quality Outcomes and participate in Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) so that hospitals would be able to share data with other providers in regional HIEs.
According to Keith Murdock, Trinity spokesman, “Trinity was required to finance the entire conversion to electronic health records and the government has and will reimburse a sizeable portion of the outlay of money if certain time schedules are met. We are pleased to announce that Trinity Health System is in the top ten percent of hospitals in the nation that have met all of the deadlines thus far.”
Many of the physicians on the medical staff at Trinity have also adopted the EHR in their practices. Nationally, many hospitals have not achieved levels near this percentage.
Deadlines for further mandates will continue until 2015 and Trinity Health System is on schedule to meet these upcoming milestones.