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Electronic Records Designed to Reduce Costs, Improve Health

Added by Hawley Troxell in Health Law, News on October 25, 2013

If you have received medical care recently, you may have been notified about your electronic health chart. And if you have not been asked yet, chances are you will soon, because providers in the Treasure Valley and around the country are already using or are in the process of developing electronic health records systems.

The use of EHRs is increasingly common, both at hospitals and in physician’s offices, due in no small part to incentive payments from the federal government through its EHR incentive program. The government pays to promote EHRs because it believes they will help lead to better care with fewer errors at a lower cost, which in turn leads, at least in theory, to lower premiums for businesses and consumers.

The EHR incentive program is not part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but integration of health information technology, including meaningful use of EHRs, is key to achieving two principal goals of the ACA – reducing costs while improving health outcomes. Most of the attention paid to health reform recently has focused on the ACA, but while the ACA is the centerpiece of reform, it is not the only law passed by Congress in recent years that seeks to change the delivery of health care in this country.

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This article first appeared in the Idaho Business Review.