Office Of The National Coordinator For Health IT Tackles Pressing EHR Issues

Sheri Porter | AAFP | June 12, 2013

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, which was enacted as part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, is designed to stimulate the adoption of health information technology in the United States. Essentially, until 2015, the HITECH Act offers incentives for physicians and other health care professionals to adopt health IT. After that, the act spells out penalties for nonuse of health IT.

The government entity responsible for rolling out the health IT incentives and penalties is the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology. This office has been working to create meaningful use guidelines for physicians and others that will lead to them receiving incentive payments and avoiding penalties in the future. However, many physicians who have adopted health IT in the form of electronic health records (EHRs) have expressed disappointment with the technology as it currently exists.

In response to their concerns, AAFP News Now recently sat down with ONC head Farzad Mostashari, M.D., M.S., to ask some of the questions family physicians have been asking the Academy. The following is a snapshot of the conversation about how the nation is doing in its quest to automate the U.S. health care system via widespread implementation of EHRs.