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More than half (57%) of Medicare physicians used an electronic health record (EHR) system at their primary practice location in 2011, according to a recent report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO). One health information technology (HIT) expert suggests that long-term and post-acute care (LTPAC) providers should do the same – and soon.
After surveying 2,000 physicians who participated in Medicare during 2011, the GAO found that:
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) requested the report in connection with an ongoing GAO evaluation of EHR-related documentation vulnerabilities associated with E/M services.
The GAO also forwarded a copy of its report to CMS because the agency “may find this information helpful as it continues administering its EHR incentive program.”
LTPAC providers aren't eligible for federal EHR incentives. But Dr. Bill Russell, an HIT consultant speaking at June’s LTPAC HIT Summit in Baltimore, urged providers to pursue EHR adoption. Russell suggested that Stage 2 “meaningful use” requirements associated with the EHR incentive program will make it necessary for eligible hospitals to exchange electronic clinical summaries with LTPAC providers. Establishing interoperability now would help providers facilitate better transitions of care, he said.According to McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, Russell and other technology experts at the Summit maintained that EHRs can help LTPAC providers: