Chicago — Momentum is building behind incentives for physicians to adopt electronic health records (EHRs) in their medical practices, according to Chicago-based Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT).

In its first search for programs that have sprung up to subsidize physician adoption of health information technology over the past two years, Certification Commission found 90 initiatives in the public and private sectors. The 90 programs in the CCHIT Incentive Index catalog represent at least $700 million in potential funding for EHR software and implementation costs. Of those programs:

• Fifty have been launched by hospital organizations in response to federal “safe harbor” regulations announced in 2006. Under those rules, hospitals can subsidize up to 85% of certain costs for physicians to acquire, implement and maintain EHRs, which are CCHIT certified for their offices.

• Forty incentive programs are being offered by government agencies, insurance plans, employer coalitions and public-private partnerships, of which 20 explicitly call for CCHIT certified technology. For the rest, the certification of EHR products constitutes a first step in the selection process.

“As we dug deeper to research the real impacts of certification, the results surprised us, as we found many more incentive programs—and more funding—to be available than we expected at this point,” says Chairman Mark Leavitt, M.D., Ph.D., CCHIT. “Although we started our first certification in ambulatory care just two-and-one-half years ago, we’re already seeing evidence of a major redirection of investment toward adoption of EHRs in that setting.”

Source: CCHIT

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