The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which was signed into law on February 17, 2009, provides more than $19 billion in HIT investment and creates financial incentives for HIT adoption by health care professionals participating in Medicare and Medicaid programs. Under ARRA, two key concepts determine whether eligible professionals qualify for HIT incentive payments:
Physicians must make “meaningful use” of HIT, and
Physicians must use a qualified or certified electronic health record.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released its final rule on the Electronic Health Record Incentive Program, which implements the ARRA provisions (also known as the HITECH Act).
The purpose of the EHR incentive program is not so much the adoption of HIT, but rather to explore how HIT can further the goals of improving health outcomes. This is the concept of meaningful use.
An eligible physician will be considered a meaningful EHR user if he/she meets three requirements:
Uses certified EHR technology in a meaningful manner; i.e. computerized physician order entry (CPOE),
Participates in electronic exchange of health information to improve quality of care, and
Submits information on clinical quality measures to CMS (or to a state if a Medicaid program).