Barriers to EHR Adoption: Cost & Useability!

Yesterday, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 into law.  What does this mean for the top two barriers to wide-scale EHR adoption? With $19.2 billion set aside for health IT (including incentives for doctors & hospitals to receive additional payments through Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement systems, rewarding them for demonstrating a “meaningful use” of certified EHR technology) the number one barrier to implementing an EHR is certainly beginning to be addressed.   Having participated in the HIMSS EHR Association the vision for this important step is much greater than simple EHR adoption.

“We have worked closely with the US House of Representatives, US Senate and industry partners to provide information on the practical application of HIT throughout the development of this important economic recovery package,” saidJustin Barnes , EHR Association Chairman. “It’s not just about greater adoption of electronic health records, which, of course, are an important infrastructure component of the stimulus package, but, more fundamentally, we want to ensure Americans are afforded the real benefits of interoperable health IT and EHRs, which are proven to save lives, reduce costs and increase access to quality care.”  (http://news.prnewswire.com/DisplayReleaseContent.aspx?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/02-17-2009/0004973918&EDATE=)

As for usability, significant strides have been accomplished in recent years at providing EHR capability where it is needed, when it is needed, with little or no technical knowledge required.  More progress is being made daily as new product releases deliver new functionality & increased service integration across the health-care system.  Many recent case studies provide compelling proof of the overall value this important transition in health-care is creating.  The results represented in the following HIMSS article represent a small sample of the underlying potential for the the US Health-care System at large. (http://www.prweb.com/releases/HIMSS/electronic_health_record/prweb2087664.htm)

Mark Holliday