The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has extended the deadline to meet meaningful use criteria for physicians and hospitals adopting electronic health records (EHRs) this year until 2014, according to a press release.
Currently, physicians and hospitals that began participating in Medicare EHR incentive programs this year would have to meet the new standards by 2013. The policy change will allow them to adopt EHRs this year without meeting the new standards until 2014.
The policy changes are accompanied by a greater outreach effort by HHS that will provide more information to doctors, hospitals and vendors in an effort to educate them on the benefits of EHRs and accelerate their adoption.
The HHS release also reported that physicians’ adoption of EHRs has doubled in 2 years and that more than 50,000 health information technology jobs have been created since the federal HITECH Act was passed in 2010. The number of health IT jobs is expected to increase by 20% nationally between 2008 and 2018, outpacing job growth in all other occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.