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HHS Outlines Upcoming EHR Initiatives

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The Department of Health and Human Services released more details Thursday about the department’s initiatives to have doctors and hospitals use electronic health records.

HHS said the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health, or HITECH Act, gives doctors and healthcare professionals Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments if they use certified EHR technology.

Stage one sets the basic attributes EHRs must have including electronic data capture and patient access to electronic copies of health information.

The program will start its second phase, an increased health information exchange, as early as 2014.

HHS also announced the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT have released final requirements for stage two.

Hospitals and health care providers must meet these requirements to receive incentives and EHRs must pass them to achieve certification, HHS said.

The department added current EHR technology, certified in 2011, can be used until 2014 and EHR technology will go through an updated certification process.

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