The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 included as much as $27 billion to be expended over 10 years to support the adoption of electronic health records (EHRs). While there has been bipartisan support for EHR adoption for at least five years, this is the first substantial commitment of federal resources to support adoption and help providers identify the key functions that will support improved care delivery.

Enacted as part of ARRA, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) supports the adoption of electronic health records by providing financial incentives under Medicare and Medicaid to hospitals and eligible professionals who adopt, implement, upgrade, and demonstrate "meaningful use" of certified EHR technology.

Why EHRs?

  • EHRs support complete, accurate, and searchable health information, available at the point of diagnosis and care, allowing for more informed decision-making to enhance the quality and reliability of health care.
  • EHRs support more-efficient and convenient delivery of care, without having to wait for the exchange of records or paperwork and without requiring unnecessary or repetitive tests or procedures.
  • EHRs support earlier diagnosis and characterization of disease, with the potential to improve health outcomes and reduce costs.
  • EHRs support reductions in adverse events through an improved understanding of each patient's particular medical history. For example, identification of a patient's potential for drug/drug interactions through the use of an EHR could decrease the likelihood of a potentially harmful response to a course of treatment.
  • EHRs support increased efficiency in administrative tasks, allowing for more interaction with and transfer of information to patients, caregivers, and clinical care coordinators. They also improve the monitoring of patient care.

This information is provided by MassHealth.