Investing in an Electronic Health Record: Stimulus Money Is Available—Here's How to Qualify

January 1, 2010 | Evaluations & Guidance


*Note: Information in this article has been updated. See[page 52](/search-results/member-preview/hdjournal/articles/ecri-hd201002-p038-eval)of the February 2010 issue. *

The promise of U.S. government incentive payments for electronic health records (EHRs) has ignited considerable interest in the technology. The incentives for EHR adoption are defined in the federal stimulus act (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, or ARRA), which is designed to quickly increase the adoption of EHRs. The specifics are spelled out in Division A, Title XIII, and Division B, Title IV, together known as the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, or HITECH Act.

According to the HITECH Act, to receive incentive payments, a hospital must demonstrate that its EHR is being used “for the electronic exchange of health information to improve the quality of health care, such as promoting care coordination” (ARRA section 4102(a)(3)(A)(i)). These conditions will be possible only when an EHR is being widely used throughout an organization and has the capability to exchange data with other information systems and outside entities. That means the EHR will have to be widely implemented before any incentive payment is received. Experience has shown that about two years...

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