The expanded use of electronic health records — intended to improve and streamline healthcare services — has become a bone of contention in the addiction community, where unique privacy concerns could hamper integration with the rest of healthcare. Squabbles aside, however, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is pressing forward with regulations (and incentives) to promote wider adoption of electronic health records across the healthcare system.
New rules issued by HHS on July 13 set minimum requirements for providers who want to get Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments for using EHR technology, and set standards and certification criteria for such technology. “For years, health policy leaders on both sides of the aisle have urged adoption of electronic health records throughout our health care system to improve quality of care and ultimately lower costs,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Today, with the leadership of the President and the Congress, we are making that goal a reality.”