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Post-HITECH, Docs Adopted their EHR Mostly for Financial Incentives

December 5, 2014
by Gabriel Perna
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A good number of physicians that adopted an electronic health record (EHR) system after the passage of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) were doing it for the money, reveals a new data brief from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC).

The data brief from ONC looks at why physicians decided to adopt an EHR. Using data from the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) National Ambulatory Medical Care Surveys Physician Workflow Survey, ONC researchers revealed that 62 percent of physicians who adopted an EHR from 2010-2013 did so mostly to receive the HITECH incentive payments. After that, physicians cited board certification requirements, trusted colleagues using EHRs, and electronic exchange capabilities as their main incentives for adopting.

Before 2010, 27 percent of physicians who had adopted an EHR did so mostly to exchange electronic data, the most of any reason. Financial incentives were second at 23 percent of physician respondents.

 “National delivery system reform initiatives linked to certified technology, such as the separately billable chronic care management services, will help make the electronic use and sharing of health information a reality,” stated Karen DeSalvo, M.D., national coordinator for health IT and acting assistant secretary of health in a press release with the brief.

The data brief also reveals that the majority (53 percent) of those who hadn’t adopted, as of 2013, also saw financial incentives as the main reason to do. Technical assistance EHR implementation and board certification requirements were the second and third reasons for the non adopters. Thirty-four percent of those who hadn’t adopted indicated that they planned to apply for incentive funds anyway. Most said the reason they didn’t adopt was because of a lack of resources, whether they were financial or personnel.

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