Healthcare Providers' Difficulties Implementing Certified Electronic Health Records: A Barrier to Exchange of Patient Data Needed to Improve the Quality of Care

Healthcare Providers' Difficulties Implementing Certified Electronic Health Records: A Barrier to Exchange of Patient Data Needed to Improve the Quality of Care

The Meaningful Use objectives and criteria are intended to improve the quality, safety, efficiency of electronically sharing medical record data. The most recent adoption statistics show that four years after  the meaningful use push by the current Administration in 2009, only 49% of physicians have the capability to exchange secure messages with patients nationally,  77% of physicians have the capability to view lab results, and 78% have adopted a certified electronic health record (EHR) One would think that with the monetary incentives set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), more physicians would be on board with adopting EHR systems and electronically exchanging patient information.  CMS is rewarding eligible professionals (EP) and eligible hospitals (EH) if they are willing to adopt, implement, upgrade, or demonstrate they have the capability of producing meaningful use of a certified EHR technology.  If an EP demonstrates their ability to show meaningful use with their EHR they can receive up to $44,000 through Medicare and $63,750 through Medicaid.  Eligible hospitals can receive up to $2 million.  If monetary incentives are not driving an increase of EHR adoption and health information exchange capability across the nation, then what are the elements contributing to the slow adoption rate of EHRs or the capability for healthcare providers to exchange information nationally?

A recent article in Health Data Management reports that the Department of Health and Human Services has identified the following factors inhibiting the electronic flow of patient data among providers: (a) lack of interoperability, (b) the complexity of state and federal privacy and security laws, (c) financial concerns, and (d) other issues relating to the unwillingness to share data. 

It seems that healthcare providers are running into issues as they attempt to get their EHR up to standard, thereby preventing the electronic exchange of meaningful health information with their patients and other providers.  As with any major technology implementation, you will have growing pains.  The idea is to have a better flow of patient data, which will essentially be an avenue to better healthcare services.  With the issues that health providers are experiencing, will this be worth the pain in getting a certified EHR i.e., meaningful use system up and running? If so, what will happen if every healthcare provider does not buy into this program and how will this affect the flow of data that is so important to enabling the delivery of high-quality care?


About the Author

Latasha Easterling



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2021-Knowledge Without Boundaries National Summit-College of Doctoral Studies Research Conference-University of Phoenix-Panel Discussion-"Exploring Emergent Trends in Leadership and Education"-Based on published symposia article from the Journal of Leadership Studies-


Latasha Easterling
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