In 2011, the government started the meaningful use programfor healthcare providers. The program provides financial incentives through Medicare and Medicaid to encourage the use of electronic medical records (EMR). In 2015, those with paper-only records will see financial penalties, depending on how many providers use EMRsin the next two years. And, according to Health IT News, the number may be greater than expected.
A study found that the number of family physicians that use EMRs has doubled since 2005.Currently, about 70 percent of physicians use electronic records, and based on past trends, this number may reach up to 80 percent by the end of this year. This rate is higher than office-based healthcare providers, including pediatricians, of which only about 41 percent use EMRs. Unless more more begin the transition from paper to electronic records, there may be harsher penalties in 2015.
It’s easy to understand why some office-based professionals are apprehensive about adopting electronic systems, given the immense amount of paper documents and records they currently use. But the push for EMR is a result of the accessibility healthcare providers have to each other when they’re all on compatible, digital, systems. Once a medical facility has adopted EMRs and become largely paperless, at least with its healthcare records, it may want to use bulk scanning services to digitize and archive old information.)
This example also points to a broader advantages of using a digital system, whether involved in the healthcare industry or not. When working with other professionals outside one particular office, having electronic records allows for more efficient communication.