Electronic health records (EHRs) aren’t just about comprehensive health information. Too much controversy seems to surround them. According to a report by Kaiser Permanente International, EHRs have been around for years. Many health care providers are still slow to adopt them, according to the report. But why? Perhaps a more pointed question would be to ask: why not?
“…to facilitate health…”
In an effort to remedy what was colloquially referred to then as “the Grand Recession,” U.S. Congress enacted the American
Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA); one provision of this law has to do with expanding health information technology.
Under the purview of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) is basically a rule to get providers to expand the current health information technology
infrastructure together. The reform provides incentives to those who work toward that aim and do so in a manner consistent with the ARRA ideals that, according to law work “to facilitate health and promote a more effective, competitive marketplace”; additional rules essentially layout how providers are rewarded or penalized for joining or not joining. The 2013 revision expands on this, as well.
What’s a practitioner to do?
However well intention ARRA seems, many providers experience a myriad of barriers to success with regard to adopting or updating EHRs which, ironically, EHRs may ultimately remedy. Further, they feel money provided by incentives isn’t worth all the seemingly extraordinary effort so to speak. Financial, technical or even organizational issues often keep them from moving forward. So what’s a practitioner to do?
EHRs do work
For any organizational effort to be successful and then remain so, people involved have to be culturally aligned with the effort in play. One major obstacle to this challenge is getting people the information they need to make informed decisions. There is so much information out there it is difficult for some to know where to even start. Now, getting information and knowing what to do with it doesn’t require a research assistant either. EHRs can help you achieve a significant return on investment (ROI) or boost the efficacy of your practice.
The first stop: regional extension centers (RECs).