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September 9, 2009

Electronic Medical Records at a Crossroads: Impetus for Change or Missed Opportunity?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Massachusetts Veterans Epidemiology Research and Information Center (MAVERIC), Cooperative Studies Program Coordinating Center, Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts; and Center for Surgery and Public Health, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.

JAMA. 2009;302(10):1109-1111. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1319

The president's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act includes $19 billion in incentives for the adoption of electronic medical records (EMRs)1 and his health care reforms include an investment of $50 billion to promote health information technology. For physicians considering adoption of an EMR system, the legislation features both the carrot and the stick. Medicare physicians adopting and making “meaningful use” of EMRs in 2011 and 2012 will be eligible for an initial payment of up to $18 000, with reduced subsequent payment amounts in 2013 and 2014. Physicians can capitalize on similar incentives available through the Medicaid program (but not both). Those physicians who do not adopt EMRs by 2015 will face a reduction of 1% in their Medicare fee schedule, increasing to a 2% reduction in 2016 and a 3% reduction in 2017 and beyond.