The AAOS believes Health Information Technology (HIT) should strive to improve quality care - not detract time and attention from the care of patients - and that access to and correct usage of patient Electronic Health Records (EHRs)/Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) provide major benefits to patients and physicians alike. The Electronic Health Record (EHR) meaningful use (MU) program is designed to incentivize physicians to adopt EHRs and implement them in their practice. The program is administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and is being rolled out in three stages. Implementation of Stage 1 and 2 are underway now and Stage 3 implementation is set to begin in 2017. The staged implementations require progressively higher levels of EHR use, including submitting data on clinical quality measures, sharing data with a health information exchange, and using clinical decision support tools.
The AAOS believes the potential benefits of EHR adoption are vast, and we believe widespread usage of well-designed EHRs will benefit our patients and the practice of medicine. We recognize, however, the cost of implementation may be prohibitive to many practices. We have relayed this position in letters to the government regarding the implementation of the MU program, stressing the need for implementation that is practical and flexible enough for physicians and their patients.