Financial Incentives, Penalties Among Top Reasons for EHR Adoption

December 5, 2014 in News

Financial incentives and potential penalties are key motivators for adopting electronic health records for physicians who have done so since 2009, according to a data brief released Friday by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, Healthcare IT News reports.

The brief, based on data from the 2013 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, details why physicians have chosen to adopt or not adopt EHRs.


According to ONC’s data brief, 62% of physicians who adopted EHRs after the implementation of the HITECH Act in 2009 did so because of financial incentives or penalties, In comparison, 23% of physicians who adopted EHRs prior to 2009 did so because of incentives or penalties.

Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHRs can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments (Monegain, Healthcare IT News, 12/5).

Meanwhile, the capability for electronic data exchange also drove EHR adoption among:

  • 36% of physicians who adopted EHRs after 2009; and
  • 27% of those who adopted EHRs before 2009.

Among physicians who are not yet using EHRs, the data brief showed that:

  • 34% have applied or will apply for incentive funds;
  • 28% will not apply for such funds; and
  • 28% are undecided.

Of those who plan to use EHRs, 51% said they would adopt the technology because of incentive payments or financial penalties.

Meanwhile, more than 60% of physicians who said they would not adopt EHRs said it was because of a lack of resources, including funding, time and staff. Further, about 20% of those doctors said that no EHR systems fit the needs of their specialty (ONC data brief, 12/5).

National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo said the findings show “the importance of incentives in building an interoperable health IT system”(Healthcare IT News, 12/5).

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