More than half of doctor's offices adopt electronic health records

WASHINGTON — More than half of all healthcare providers who are eligible have received Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments for electronic health records, the Department of Health and Human Services said.

HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the department had exceeded its goal for 50% of doctor offices and 80% of hospitals to have EHRs by the end of the year. By contrast, the percentage of physicians using EHRs in 2008 was 17%. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 contained incentive programs for adoption of EHRs that went into effect in 2011.

"We have reached a tipping point in adoption of electronic health records," Sebelius said. "More than half of eligible professionals and 80% of eligible hospitals have adopted these systems, which are critical to modernizing our healthcare system. Health [information technology] helps providers better coordinate care, which can improve patients' health and save money at the same time."