Federal initiatives are under way to drive adoption of interoperable EMRs, including funding of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Health IT portfolio.

The recent American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 (PDF, 1 MB ) authorizes billion to be distributed starting in 2011 as adoption incentives through Medicare and Medicaid to qualified providers who adopt and use certified EMRs.

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These systems can facilitate workflow and improve the quality of patient care and patient safety.

Despite these benefits, widespread adoption of EMRs in the United States is low; a recent survey indicated that only 4 percent of ambulatory physicians reported having an extensive, fully functional electronic records system and 13 percent reported having a basic system.

[2] Among the most significant barriers to adoption are: Recognizing the role that EMRs can play in transforming health care, in 2003, the Institute of Medicine issued a group of eight key functions for safety, quality, and care efficiency that EMRs should support.

Traditionally, the EMR vendor community has created systems that conform only to proprietary database formats, making it difficult for them to send and receive data from other, potentially competing products.

He cited the “real life example” of Thomas Eric Duncan, the Ebola patient whose diagnosis was missed the first time he visited a Dallas emergency room.

In cases of infectious diseases those sorts of errors put the safety of the entire public in jeopardy.This will enable decisionmakers to adopt EMRs more easily. The criteria were updated in 2010 These criteria will help reduce barriers for ambulatory providers to adopt EHR systems by ensuring confidence in purchased products.CCHIT certified products also meet requirements set forth by HHS in final physician self-referral law and anti-kickback statute rules, providing access to external means of implementing EHR systems.One survey respondent was quite blunt in his assessment: That respondent is not alone.Forty-five percent said that patient care has gotten worse since implementing EHRs.Despite subsidies from the federal government, physicians reported that the EHR systems were not worth the cost, which includes licensing fees, training, hardware and increases in staffing.