U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Announces Rules to Support Use of Electronic Health Records

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07/13/10
On July 13th, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced final rules to help improve Americans' health, increase safety and reduce health care costs through expanded use of electronic health records (EHR).

Under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009, eligible health care professionals and hospitals can qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments when they adopt certified EHR technology and use it to achieve specified objectives. One of the two regulations announced today defines the "meaningful use" objectives that providers must meet to qualify for the bonus payments, and the other regulation identifies the technical capabilities required for certified EHR technology.

With "meaningful use" definitions in place, EHR system vendors can ensure that their systems deliver the required capabilities, providers can be assured that the system they acquire will support achievement of "meaningful use" objectives, and a concentrated five-year national initiative to adopt and use electronic records in health care can begin.

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