The Importance of Health Data

24 February, 2017

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provides healthcare coverage for more than 100 million Americans through Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Under Medicare alone, CMS processes more than 1.3 billion claims each year, and generates billions of other non-claim data and enrollment. The American health system becomes more data-driven each day. Electronic health records (EHR) are becoming vital to streamlining the process and saving time and money, while providing more efficient quality of care.

The Obama administration’s ongoing efforts to improve health care quality and coordination, reducing errors, and lowering the overall cost of health care are Part of the Affordable Care Act. The use of certified EHR technology is an integral part of this law. Eligible physicians and hospitals utilizing electronic health records that meet the standards for this act already have had the opportunity to receive incentive payments for their participation.

Physicians using electronic health record technology say the use of EHRs has contributed to enhanced or improved patient care. The use of EHRs has also been noted as contributing to the daily operations of medical practices and facilities. As of 2011, approximately 55 percent of physicians have adopted at least some EHR technology into their practices. 85 percent of those physicians who have adopted EHRs said they were satisfied with their choice to implement EHRs into their practice.

The use of EHRs is enhancing overall patient care. The benefits of EHRs range from receiving alerts for lab results, avoiding potential medication errors, and the ability to access a patient’s medical records remotely. Health providers are increasingly recognizing the importance of electronic health record technology to the efficient operation of their practices as well as to better, safer care to their patients. Overall, the response of the physician’s actually utilizing electronic health records has been positive and effective.

In 2014 CMS will add additional electronic health record expansions in order to facilitate healthcare innovation. As the American health care system becomes more data-driven this wealth of information is vital. CMS plays a crucial part in this enormous undertaking and has a responsibility to provide appropriate ease of access to the data. CMS also greatly acknowledges the essential role it plays in ensuring privacy laws and regulations. The development, management, and the distribution of data while simultaneously increasing data security will increasingly become one of CMS’s core functions.

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