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Current Trends in the Use of Electronic Healthcare Records


For instance, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 authorized the payment of incentives to encourage physicians in private practice to implement EHR systems, and the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs likewise provide financial incentives for healthcare providers to increase their use of EHRs (Hsiao & Hing, 2014). While every healthcare setting differs in some ways, the use of EHRs has been shown to provide a number of desirable outcomes that can benefit healthcare providers and consumers alike, including the following: Reducing the number of medical errors by improving the accuracy and clarity of healthcare records; Facilitating clinician access to healthcare information; Eliminating duplication of tests; Minimizing delays in treatment; and, Improving patient autonomy by providing them with the information they need to make more informed decisions concerning their healthcare treatment and alternatives (Albert, 2013, p

Current Trends in the Use of Electronic Healthcare Records


The uptake of EHRs by healthcare providers has been promoted by various laws enacted in recent years that provide incentives for clinicians. For instance, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 authorized the payment of incentives to encourage physicians in private practice to implement EHR systems, and the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs likewise provide financial incentives for healthcare providers to increase their use of EHRs (Hsiao & Hing, 2014)

Current Trends in the Use of Electronic Healthcare Records


Percentage of office-based physicians with EHR system in the United States: 2001-2013 Source: Based online graph in Hsiao & Hing, 2014 Although EHRs eliminate much of the traditional paperwork required for healthcare management, they are not labor free. In fact, at present, clinicians spent about 1 to 2 hours a day viewing information on EHRs and between 2 and 4 hours documenting EHR information (nurses spend about twice as much time as physicians in this task), but these levels are expected to decrease as clinicians gain experience and further innovations are introduced (Penoyer & Cortelyou-Ward, 2014)