Experts agree that just to keep pace with current demand, fueled by recent passage of ARRA and HITECH, it is necessary to have a greater number of trained informaticians in place as soon as possible.
"Meaningful Use" of Electronic Health Records
In 2009, as part of the larger federal stimulus package, Congress and the Obama administration authorized the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH). Through Medicare and Medicaid, HITECH supports the adoption and use of electronic health records (EHRs) by offering $27 billion of incentive payments over a 10-year period to clinicians and hospitals that make "Meaningful Use" of EHRs. This translates to as much as $44,000 (from Medicare) and $63,750 (from Medicaid) per clinician.
"Meaningful use" supports improved health care by calling upon providers to achieve significant improvements in care. Such significant improvements encompass digitizing essential aspects of health care. For example, entering orders and prescriptions online not only allows healthcare providers to access patient data more efficiently, but also avails them of clinical logic –such as identifying drug interactions to improve the safety and quality of care.
"Meaningful Use" has been described as an electronic circulatory system for health information that supports making health care professionals better at what they do and the American people healthier. Primary goals are:
- Improved health outcomes, at individual and population levels;
- Increased transparency and efficiency; and
- Improved ability to study and improve care delivery.
AMIA is taking a leading role in the nation’s journey toward electronically connected, information-driven health care. The advantages to the informatics community are profound. The benefits of technology will improve caregivers’ decisions and patients’ outcomes.