How Fast is Health IT Spreading and What Are the Benefits

Chris Fleming | Health Affairs Blog | March 9, 2012

Adoption of health information technology (IT) throughout the health care system is “on the march,” according to Farzad Mostashari, the national coordinator for health IT. Nearly 2,000 US hospitals and more than 41,000 doctors have now met the standards for achieving meaningful use of health IT, and have received $3.1 billion in federal incentive payments as a result.

In an interview in the recently released March Health Affairs with David Brailer, the first national health IT coordinator, Mostashari predicts that 50 percent of primary care providers will have adopted basic electronic health record (EHR) systems within a couple of years—up from just 20 percent in 2009. He adds that 90 percent of hospital chief information officers say that meeting federal meaningful-use standards for EHRs is one of their top two priorities.

And with the second stage of meaningful-use regulations now rolling out, Mostashari says the federal government’s goal is to make sure that all of America’s health care providers make the grade. “Our goal is to do whatever we can to see to it that no one gets penalized” for not using health IT in 2015, the year after federal incentive payments end and when providers who haven’t adopted the technology and demonstrated meaningful use will face lower Medicare and Medicaid payments...