The HITECH Act has promoted the spread of electronic records and other means to improve healthcare conditions via substantial incentives. Compliance objectives are a high priority, and mobile devices are helping doctors to optimize implementation.

USA: the healthcare industry is adopting EHRs, encouraged by government


The healthcare industry has been greatly affected by recent legislation that encourages the adoption of patient data management systems and electronic health records. As explained by Capture Billing, this part of the Stimulus Package which was passed in 2009, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act offers financial incentives for physicians to adopt the mentioned improvements. On a national scale, widespread adoption of PDM systems and EHRs would create improved quality of care, patient safety and lower healthcare costs. Practitioners can qualify for the incentives by purchasing and using a government certified EHR and demonstrate proper or “meaningful” use according to a list of objectives.

HER implementation is a priority for the industry

With thousands of dollars in potential incentives, physicians and hospitals are prioritizing adoption and implementation of EHRs and the meaningful use objectives. Meeting regulatory requirements and managing digital records are top priorities for healthcare professionals. According to InformationWeek’s Healthcare IT 2012 Priorities report, 94 percent of surveyed healthcare organizations have implemented or plan to implement EMR or EHR, 44 percent have already done so. These groups are prepared to spend a substantial sum to update their systems - 62 percent of respondents have allotted 20 percent or more of their annual IT budget to be spent on electronic records systems this year.

With cellphones as a central device to access patient data

While legislation and software are defining this movement, hardware is influencing its implementation. The adoption of mobile device usage by physicians is spiking, particularly tablets. This year, 66 percent of doctors are using tablet computers for medical purposes, up from 45 percent in 2011. Laptops remain the most common portable device, rising slightly from 74 percent last year to 78 percent in 2012, and smartphone use rose from 61 percent to 69 percent. Doctors overwhelmingly use mobile devices to access patient data - 82 percent use them for this purpose, as well as to communicate with other healthcare providers (62 percent). Nearly half access decision support or other business intelligence applications, and a third communicate with their patients.

By Ivory King