Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program Overview

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, was signed into law on February 17, 2009, to promote the adoption and meaningful use of health information technology. Under the provisions of the HITECH Act, State Medicaid programs have established EHR Incentive Programs.  These programs provide for incentive payments to certain health care professionals and hospitals that meet specific eligibility requirements when they adopt, implement, and meaningfully use certified EHR technology. To be eligible for incentive programs, health care professionals and hospitals must fall within the defined classifications and meet minimum Medicaid patient volume thresholds. Providers can determine whether they are eligible by clicking here.

What is Meaningful Use (MU)?

Eligible professionals and hospitals must also meet meaningful use criteria. Meaningful use is defined as using certified electronic health record (EHR) technology to:

  • Improve quality, safety, efficiency, and reduce health disparities
  • Engage patients and family
  • Improve care coordination, and population and public health
  • Maintain privacy and security of patient health information

Ultimately, it is hoped that the meaningful use compliance will result in:

  • Better clinical outcomes
  • Improved population health outcomes
  • Increased transparency and efficiency
  • Empowered individuals
  • More robust research data on health systems

Meaningful use sets specific objectives that eligible professionals (EPs) and hospitals must achieve. Read more 

What is an Electronic Health Record (EHR)?

An EHR is an electronic version of a patient’s medical history, that is maintained by the provider over time, and may include all of the key administrative clinical data relevant to that person's care under a particular provider, including demographics, progress notes, problems, medications, vital signs, past medical history, immunizations, laboratory data and radiology reports. The EHR automates access to information and has the potential to streamline the clinician's workflow. EHRs are the next step in the continued progress of healthcare that can strengthen the relationship between patients and clinicians.  The data, and the timeliness and availability of it, will enable providers to make better decisions and provide better care.
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