A decade ago, the Institute of Medicine's To Err is Human report shocked the nation and the healthcare industry, publicly highlighting the 98,000 deaths that occur each year due to avoidable medical errors. Today, the statistics are not much improved. The IOM still estimates that at least 1.5 million preventable medication errors cause harm in the U.S. and cost $3.5 billion each year.
A key recommendation from the Institute of Medicine:
More effective use of healthcare information technology to improve the safety, efficiency and effectiveness of patient care. While many organizations have made great strides implementing HIT solutions, others have been hindered by financial constraints.
With the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, the federal government has put muscle - and money - behind making electronic health records (EHR) systems a reality for every healthcare practitioner.
Specifically, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) section (H.R. 1-113) of the ARRA bill contains $19.2 billion in incentives for implementing EHR systems and other HIT.
But this landmark legislation is not about implementing technology for technology's sake. It's about promoting the "meaningful use" of EHRs to connect care settings and providers so patients receive better, safer care. It's about using the power of HIT to improve efficiency, reduce costs and ultimately, to expand access to healthcare services for all Americans.
Hospitals and physician practices that do not adopt EHRs will incur financial penalties - in the form of reduced Medicare and Medicaid payments - beginning in 2015.
How to Secure Stimulus Funding
To secure funding, care providers must:
- Improve quality, safety and efficiency while reducing health disparities
- Engage patients and families
- Improve care coordination
- Improve population and public health
- Ensure adequate privacy and security protections for personal health information
How McKesson Can Help
What is Meaningful Use?
The final definitions for meaningful use were published in July. Find out how the rules will affect your EHR roadmap.