ONC Highlights Health IT Progress, Barriers in Report to Congress

October 10, 2014 in News

While electronic health record adoption is increasing among providers, barriers to health information sharing persist, according to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s annual report to Congress on the HITECH Act and health IT adoption, Modern Healthcare reports.

Report Findings

ONC found that as of June 2014:

  • 75% of eligible professionals had received federal subsidies for EHR adoption; and
  • 92% of eligible hospitals had received such subsidies.

However, the health information exchange remains limited, despite incentives, according to ONC. Specifically, in 2013:

  • 14% of office-based physicians shared data with outside providers;
  • 39% of office-based physicians shared information with outside providers or those within their organizations; and
  • 42% of hospitals shared clinical care data with outside systems.

The report states, “Electronic health information is not yet sufficiently standardized to allow seamless interoperability, as it is still inconsistently expressed through technical and medical vocabulary, structure, and format, thereby limiting the potential uses of the information to improve health and care” (Tahir, Modern Healthcare, 10/9).

ONC noted in its report that Stage 2 of the meaningful use program “should serve as a catalyst for promoting the exchange of clinical information across organizational boundaries and EHR developer platforms.”

Under the 2009 economic stimulus package, providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHRs can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments (Slabodkin, Health Data Management, 10/10).

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