and the American Medical Association have
an opportunity to support this transition by
acting as conduits for information about the
collective experiences of those hospital systems that have successfully overcome these
hurdles. Furthermore, better, more flexible,
universal standards for health data elements
will be needed to improve HIT and attain
As providers dedicate resources to adopting EHR systems, the federal government
must do its part. This starts with conception
of a shared digital environment and continues with creation of health policy that
allows for the unencumbered sharing of
data in a secure way. Finding the balance
between safeguarding privacy and facilitating the free exchange of information will be
a struggle down the road.
This task is complex, and many challenges to its fruition will arise. However,
surgeons and other health care professionals
must prudently and tirelessly work toward
a solution for the good of our patients and
our profession. Universal real-time access
by treating physicians to relevant patient
data that is collectively updated with minimal burden to individual providers would
constitute true meaningful use. ♦
1. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Medicare electronic
health record incentive payments for eligible professionals. Available
TipSheet_EP.pdf. Accessed December 2, 2015.
2. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Stage 2 overview tipsheet.
Available at: www.cms.gov/regulations-and guidance/legislation/
Accessed December 2, 2015.
3. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Medicare and Medicaid
programs; Electronic Health Record Incentive Program—Stage 3 and
modifications to meaningful use in 2015 through 2017. Federal Register.
Available at: www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/10/16/2015-25595/
program-stage-3-and-modifications. Accessed December 10, 2015.
4. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. EHR Incentive Programs:
2015 through 2017 (Modified Stage 2) overview. Available at: www.cms.
Downloads/2015_EHR2015_2017.pdf. Accessed December 2, 2015.
5. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Request For information
regarding implementation of the Merit-based Incentive Payment
System. Federal Register. Available at: www.federalregister.gov/
January 13, 2016.
6. Adler-Milstein J, DesRoches CM, Furukawa MF, et al. More than half
of U.S. hospitals have at least a basic EHR, but Stage 2 criteria remain
challenging for most. Health Aff (Millwood). 2014; 33( 9):1664-1671.
7. Adler-Milstein J, Green CE, Bates DW. A survey analysis suggests that
electronic health records will yield revenue gains for some practices and
losses for many. Health Aff (Millwood). 2013; 32( 3):562-570.
8. Fleming NS, Culler SD, McCorkle R, Becker ER, Ballard DJ. The financial
and nonfinancial costs of implementing electronic health records in
primary care practices. Health Aff (Millwood). 2011; 30( 3):481-489.
9. Inverso G, Flath-Sporn SJ, Monoxelos L, et al. What is the cost of
meaningful use? J Oral Maxillofac Surg. October 16, 2015. [Epub ahead
10. Linder JA, Ma J, Bates DW, Middleton B, Stafford RS. Electronic health
record use and the quality of ambulatory care in the United States. Arch
Intern Med. 2007;167( 13):1400-1405.
11. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information
Technology. Connecting health and care for the nation: A shared
nationwide interoperability roadmap version 1.0. Available at: www.
healthit.gov/sites/default/files/hie-interoperability/nationwide-interoperability-roadmap-final-version- 1.0.pdf. Accessed January 15, 2016.
As providers dedicate resources to adopting EHR systems,
the federal government must do its part.