CMS quantifies how EHRs improve care

CMS quantifies how EHRs are improving carePhoto used with permission from

Providers are increasingly using electronic health records, both to manage their patients' care and to provide more information to those patients, according to new data published July 17 by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Approximately 80 percent of eligible hospitals and more than 50 percent of eligible professionals (EPs) have adopted EHRs and received meaningful use incentive payments from Medicare or Medicaid, according to CMS.

The agency said that by meaningfully using EHRs, physicians and care providers have demonstrated increased efficiencies while safeguarding privacy and improving care for millions of patients nationwide.

"Electronic health records are transforming relationships between patients and their health care providers," said CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, in a press statement. "EHRs improve care coordination, reduce duplicative tests and procedures, help patients take more control of their health and result in better overall health outcomes."

According to CMS, since the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs began in 2011:

  • More than 190 million electronic prescriptions have been sent by doctors, physician's assistants and other healthcare providers using EHRs.
  • Healthcare professionals sent 4.6 million patients an electronic copy of their health information from their EHRs.
  • More than 13 million reminders about appointments, required tests or check-ups were sent to patients using EHRs.
  • Providers have checked drug and medication interactions to ensure patient safety more than 40 million times through the use of EHRs.
  • Providers shared more than 4.3 million care summaries with other providers when patients moved between care settings resulting in better outcomes for their patients.

"More patients than ever before are seeing the benefits of their providers using electronic health records to help better coordinate and manage their care," said National Health IT Coordinator Farzad Mostashari, MD, in a press statement. "These data show that healthcare professionals are not only adopting electronic health records rapidly, they're also using them to improve care."

[See also: RWJF sees 'unprecedented' IT growth]

In a related news update, Robert Tagalicod, director of CMS' Office of E-Health Standards and Services, explained that Stage 1 meaningful use menu objectives encourage EPs to send data to immunization registries and public health agencies. Stage 2 will continue to encourage the transmission of such date.

Tagalicod added the following data points regarding the impact of EHR meaningful use on public health:

  • Immunization registries have received at least one test data submission from more than 69,000 EPs.
  • Public health agencies have received at least one test data submission from more than 12,000 EPs.


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