As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment act of 2009, the federal government has created substantial financial incentives for medical practices to implement Electronic Health Records (EHRs). The Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs offer financial reimbursements to eligible professionals, hospitals, and critical access hospitals:
Medicare EHR Incentive Program:
Medicaid EHR Incentive Program:
At the heart of the Incentive program is the requirement to demonstrate "Meaningful use". In simple terms, this means that providers need to show they're using certified EHR technology in ways that can be measured significantly in quality and in quantity.
Specifically, for eligible professionals, there are a total of 25 meaningful use objectives. To qualify for an incentive payment, 20 of these 25 objectives must be met. There are 15 required core objectives. The remaining 5 objectives may be chosen from the list of 10 menu set objectives.
Requirements include generating electronic medical prescription orders, maintaining an up to date problem list, recording patient demographics, maintaining a medical allergy list, recording vital signs, etc. The meaningful use requirements are described in detail on the Department of Health and Human Services web site: Meaningful Use Requirements.