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ONC Presents Progress Report to Congress

June 28, 2013
by Gabriel Perna
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The Office for the National Coordinator of Health IT (ONC) issued a progress report to Congress recently, as part of the requirements of the Health Information Technology for Economical and Clinical Act (HITECH). In the report, ONC said that its data shows there have been steady increases in the adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) and other functionalities of the meaningful use incentive program.

According to the ONC’s report, in 2012, nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of office-based physicians have adopted any EHR system. Since 2009, the amount of physicians who have adopted a “basic EHR,” with certain advanced capabilities, has doubled. It also touted that physicians have achieved at least 50 percent adoption rates for 12 out of the 15 EHR Incentive Programs for Stage 1 meaningful use core objectives.

It also touted the increasing number of non-federal acute care hospitals adopting EHRs. The percent of hospitals with certified EHR technology increased by 18 percent between 2011 and 2012, rising from 72 percent to 85 percent, the report stated.

The report also mentioned several of the barriers to health IT adoption. This included the cost of purchasing an EHR system, maintenance costs, technical support, and practice resistance. It also mentioned that expanding interoperability of systems remains a challenge. It mentioned some of the work the ONC has done in further health information exchange.

Eighty-two pages in length, the report covers a lot of the programs being done at the ONC to advance meaningful use of EHRs, get providers to e-Prescribe, develop the health IT workforce, and much more.

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