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CMS Data Links EHRs to Patient Safety, Empowerment

July 17, 2013
by Gabriel Perna
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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released data that shows healthcare providers have used electronic health record (EHRs) to provide information securely to patients, empowering them while managing their care and reducing medical errors

The data touts that since the enactment of the EHR Incentive Program in 2010, healthcare providers have sent 4.6 million patients an electronic copy of their health information from their EHRs. In addition, CMS revealed that more than 190 million electronic prescriptions have been sent by doctors, physician’s assistants and other health care providers using EHRs.

CMS also says more than 13 million reminders about appointments, required tests, or check-ups were sent to patients using EHRs. Providers have used EHRs to check drug and medication more than 40 million times and sent 4.3 million care summaries to other providers when a patient moves between care setting.

According to CMS, approximately 80 percent of eligible hospitals and more than 50 percent of eligible professionals have adopted EHRs and received incentive payments from Medicare or Medicaid.

"Electronic health records are transforming relationships between patients and their health care providers," CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said in a statement. "EHRs improve care coordination, reduce duplicative tests and procedures, help patients take more control of their health and result in better overall health outcomes."

The government is making a concerted effort to ensure patient safety and reduce medical errors. Earlier this month, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) outlined a patient safety plan that called for health IT to play a greater role in reducing medical errors.

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