EHR in the News

EHR in the NewsCheck out these stories about electronic health records.

Bill Seeks to Expand EHR Incentives for Rural Providers

A bill sponsored and introduced by Illinois Representative Aaron Schock aims to amend the Social Security Act to allow rural healthcare providers to access federal financial incentives for EHR adoption. Currently, many of these providers cannot qualify for EHR incentive funding due to a technical requirement regarding the billing practices of these rural clinics and medical offices. Rural health organizations are generally required to file Medicare claims under Part A using Form UB-04. The wording of the existing EHR incentive legislation limits the types of billing codes that can be used to provide meaningful use for purposes of qualifying for these incentives. Unfortunately, the UB billing codes are not currently included. The bill introduced by Representative Schock would amend the Social Security Act by changing the wording of the EHR incentive legislation to allow UB billing codes to serve as documentation of meaningful use. This would allow many rural medical providers to qualify for EHR financial incentives for implementation of these essential healthcare IT systems.

Hong Kong Solicits Public Input on EHR Sharing Framework

As the government of Hong Kong continues their path toward full implementation of a nationwide EHR platform, the government is asking for public feedback on concerns regarding the safety, security and privacy of personal data in this new system. Hong Kong has long been one of the global leaders in computing technology including healthcare IT and plans to complete implementation of its shared EHR platform during the 2013/2014 fiscal year. Both public and private hospitals and healthcare providers are expected to use the services provided by this advanced EHR network. The Hong Kong government hopes that by obtaining public feedback on the system before it is put in place, many security and privacy problems can be foreseen and avoided before they put sensitive patient data at risk.

EHR Use Continues to Rise

The CDC recently released statistical data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey that indicated sharp increases in the number of medical offices adopting EHR platforms. The 2011 figures showed that 52% of physicians were planning to apply for the federal EHR financial incentives, a significant increase over the 41% figure for 2010. Over one third of responding medical offices indicated that they had already implemented a platform meeting the criteria for a basic system under the EHR incentive rules. It is likely that these increases are due at least in part to the federal financial incentives for EHR implementation. Regardless of the reasons, these increases in EHR use spell good news for providers who can reduce their recordkeeping costs and for patients who benefit from the enhanced care EHR systems make possible.

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