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Health Information Technology

Health information technology (IT) encompasses a wide range of products and services—including software, hardware and infrastructure—designed to collect, store and exchange patient data throughout the clinical practice of medicine.

Improving Care: Priorities to Improve Electronic Health Record Usability
While the AMA recognizes the potential value of electronic health records (EHRs), an AMA October 2013 study on physician satisfaction, done in collaboration with RAND Health, found that EHRs are a major source of dissatisfaction. To address this issue, the AMA identified key challenges physicians face with current EHRs and recommends eight EHR usability priorities to be urgently addressed. Access "Improving Care: Priorities to Improve Electronic Health Record Usability" for more information.

Medicare & Medicaid Incentive Programs
Below are two widely-available incentive programs. Interested in learning more about what it takes to receive incentives under the Medicare / Medicaid "Meaningful Use" EHR Incentive Program? Want to know what is needed to receive a Medicare incentive for e-prescribing or how you can avoid financial penalties for not e-prescribing? The AMA has information to help you get started.

Medicare/Medicaid EHR Incentive Program
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 authorizes the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to provide financial incentives to eligible professionals and hospitals that demonstrate "meaningful use" of certified EHR technology. Learn more.

Medicare ePrescribing Incentive/Penalty Program
In January 2009 the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) began offering eligible providers incentive payments for their use of an electronic prescribing (ePrescribing) system to prescribe for Medicare patients. As established in law, for 2009 and 2010, ePrescribing incentive amounts were 2 percent of a provider’s total estimated allowed charges for covered professional services during the reporting period (one calendar year). The incentive amount was reduced to 1 percent in 2011 and 2012 and has been reduced to 0.5 percent in 2013. The last year to receive an incentive is 2013 and the last year to receive a penalty is 2014.

Eligible professionals who were successful electronic prescribers received an average bonus payment of just over $3,000 (and $14,501 per practice) from the ePrescribing Incentive Program in 2009 and $3,836 in 2010. Learn more.

Health Information Exchanges
Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) are entities that bring together health care stakeholders within a defined geographic area and govern the electronic sharing of health information among them for the purpose of improving health and care in that community. The fundamental concept behind creating HIEs is that the ability to exchange health information electronically is critical to the efforts to improve the US health care system. Learn more.