Report to Congress on HITECH: Significant progress in adoption and use of EHRs

Today HHS and ONC submitted the annual report to Congress on progress on the HITECH Act including health IT adoption, health information exchange and use of electronic health information to advance better care and better health. This report highlights progress and accomplishments in advancing a resilient and flexible health IT infrastructure for our nation.

In 2009 when the HITECH Act became law as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, health IT adoption among providers and hospitals was just beginning and moving slowly. Since that time, we have seen significant increases in adoption of certified technology amongst both sets of meaningful use providers. Three-quarters of eligible professionals and nine in ten eligible hospitals received incentive payments from the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.

There have also been significant advances in health information exchange. More than six in ten hospitals electronically exchanged patients’ health information with any providers outside their organization, a 51 percent increase since 2008. Seven in ten health care providers use an EHR to e-prescribe on the Surescripts Network, and more than half of new and renewed prescriptions are sent electronically.

In this past year, many of our federal programs have reached important milestones:

  • Our regional extension centers (REC) surpassed their goal and currently support over 100,000 providers demonstrating Stage 1 Meaningful Use.
  • ONC’s Health IT Workforce Development Program concluded in 2013, training over 20,000 students.
  • The State Health Information Exchange Program supported state efforts to advance exchange, resulting in 47 states and territories having directed exchange broadly available and 34 states with query-based exchange broadly available.

The 2014 congressional report highlights the recent accomplishments in the adoption and use of health IT as ONC sets a new course and navigates the future direction post-HITECH. The growing adoption of health IT, the success in digitizing the content of the care experience, puts pressure on the need for that electronic health information to be appropriately shared and used to improve health and care no matter the technology developer, information platforms, location, provider, or other boundaries.  Information sharing across all provider types and among individuals is vital for improving care delivery, along with individual and community health, which means the next steps for ONC is to help realize the power and promise of health IT by ensuring that data is collected, shared and used.

We are working aggressively to continue this progress.  The success in the collection of electronic health information described in this report to Congress needs to be built upon through advancing the sharing of health information through better interoperability.  To that end, next week, we will be sharing an early draft of a Nationwide Roadmap for Interoperability at a joint meeting of the Health IT Policy and Standards Committees.  This conversation will be one milestone towards realizing a shared vision to create a nationwide roadmap that will help to ensure stakeholders can connect care, improve health, and develop the health IT ecosystem that can be part of the larger learning health system.


  1. MPAA Group says:

    We at the MPAA Group believe that the future is bright for health IT. But we believe that with the growth of health IT, the goal of improving healthcare should not be lost amidst the competition for profit. Providers like us should not lose sight of what we are here to provide and what patients deserve.

    -The MPAA Group (

  2. Chandresh Shah says:

    There is absolutely no doubt that even small clinics, with less than 5 providers have adopted EHR technology. What I have observed with feet on the ground and anecdotally is that that the same is not true about ‘productivity’. What I mean is, providers large struggle with improvements in their own optimal use of their time. On the other hand, practices do see gains in workflow efficiency.

    I believe this industry is still in the growing pains mode. Still learning. I believe that most significant vendors having achieved MU 2 certification are beginning to address the issue of productivity and workflow.

    Positive signs all around.

  3. Dave Newman says:

    I have to say that with all the criticism of any Federal programs by many, HITECH is probably one of the most successful. Sure there have been bumps in the road, and even some questionable outcomes at some locations. Just give this thing some time to smooth out and I believe the data that we gather from a more integrated health system will produce better results. And of course nobody can say HITECH hasn’t created jobs!

  4. sac du phong romoss says:

    I believe this industry is still in the growing pains mode. Still learning. I believe that most significant vendors having achieved MU 2 certification are beginning to address the issue of productivity and workflow.

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