Health IT: Charting the Course for 2013 to Harness Health IT to Bring Down Costs and Improve Quality in Health Care

Dr. Farzad Mostashari | March 6, 2013

Today HHS is announcing critical progress toward building the infrastructure needed for Health Information Technology (IT) systems to communicate seamlessly and securely.  This is crucial to our efforts to modernize our health care delivery system and will facilitate our efforts to bring down costs and improve care for patients.

We are setting our navigational chart for this year.  We are setting the goal of getting 50 percent of physician offices and 80 percent of eligible hospitals using electronic health records (EHR) by the end of this year.  We are initiating a process to ensure that data can be safely exchanged between Health IT systems.  And we are increasing our emphasis on ensuring electronic exchange across providers so that patients, doctors, and hospitals have lab results, medications, and patient histories at their fingertips when they need it.

Our efforts in this area are marked by a new request released today, seeking public input about a variety of policies that will strengthen the business case for electronic exchange across providers to ensure patients’ health information will follow them seamlessly and securely wherever they access care.  We are also enhancing the effectiveness of existing tools like the Blue Button initiative that allows Medicare beneficiaries to download their full records online. And we are focusing on program integrity to ensure electronic health records are used for clinical improvement, not to game the system.

The goals build on the significant progress HHS and its partners have already made on expanding health information technology use.  EHR adoption has tripled since 2010, increasing to 44 percent in 2012 and computerized physician order entry has more than doubled (increased 168 percent) since 2008.

For more information on the request released today, please visit:  https://federalregister.gov/a/2013-05266.

For more information on our broader efforts to build a strong, secure Health IT system, please visit: www.healthit.gov