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The Electronic Health Record Standards of 2010

In July 2010, the Obama administration chalked out new Electronic Health Record Standards. These Electronic Health Record Standards were a major improvisation on the standards that existed till then. The idea behind revising the existing Standards is to engender full conversion, to avoid duplication of data, and to bring about greater coordination of data across the various sectors of the healthcare industry, as well as to put in automation processes that bring about better, smoother and more dependable care.

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Areas in which the Standards of 2010 differ over previous standards

The Electronic Health Record Standards of 2010 vary from those of the earlier versions in a number of very significant areas.

Firstly, the Electronic Health Record Standards set a deadline of 2015 for doctors and hospitals to migrate fully to electronic records. Failure to fully migrate to this system will meet with heavy penalties.

The rationale for setting this deadline and then enforcing it with the threat of penalties is that till then, many doctors and hospitals were very slow in adapting Electronic Health Records. A painfully low one fifth of the doctors and two fifths of the hospitals had implemented EHR's into their practice by the time of enactment of these Electronic Health Record Standards.

By setting these Electronic Health Record Standards; the federal government sought to set a target for moving over completely to EHR. These Electronic Health Record Standards have been formulated keeping in mind the fact that these amendments will further hasten the process of conversion to full EHR.

To bring about adaption across all kinds of practices

Earlier, the only type of doctors who had showed alacrity and willingness in adapting to EHR were cardiologists. The new Electronic Health Record Standards of 2010 sought to erase this unevenness by making it compulsory for everyone across the board to implement their EHR systems by 2015.

Rewards for implementation

Another extremely important area in which the new Electronic Health Record Standards will impact the healthcare industries is that it seeks to reward entities that migrate to the EHR standards. Doctors are entitled to bonuses of thousands of dollars annually under Medicare and Medicaid for facilitating implementation of the new Electronic Health Record Standards. Likewise, hospitals could earn millions for doing the same within the set deadline.

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Other areas of change

The new Electronic Health Record Standards of 2010 also sought to ramp up the process of full conversion to EHR's in a phased and pleasant manner. It scaled down dramatically the number of requirements that doctors and hospitals had to meet to be certified as fully converted to EHR's. Accordingly:

  • There are now 15 criteria and five more chosen from a list of 10 that doctors have to meet to qualify for federal bonuses. The previous number was 25.
  • The Electronic Health Record Standards have also lessened the requirements for hospitals, which have to now meet 14 plus five electives, instead of the earlier 23.
  • Also, the new Electronic Health Record Standards require doctors to prescribe at least two fifths of their prescriptions electronically till the time they switched over to full EHR. The earlier number was three fourths.

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