Federal EMR Electronic Medical Records Mandate 2014/2015 Deadline

There are various views regarding the President Obama’s ability to ensure that all medical records in the United States are converted into the electronic format by 2014 but there is no denying the fact that an increased adoption of EMR or electronic medical records by physicians, healthcare organizations and their related business associates is now a gradually-progressing certainty.

A rather recent legislation further underlines the initiative for moving onto the electronic platform of storing patient medical records—called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act or the ARRA. This legislation is aimed at creating more funding and a network of incentives that can be directly resourced towards healthcare professionals or physicians who are ready to adopt EMR and abide by the concept of "meaningful use" of Electronic Medical Records by 2014.

The year 2014 is also significant from the perspective that from 2015 onwards, penalties are likely to be levied on entities dealing with patient healthcare data unable to upgrade themselves to electronic record technologies. Legislations like the ARRA and the entire campaign promoting EMR is based on the principle that electronic records provide the combined benefit of securing patient information and cutting down healthcare costs—two irrefutable advantages.

It should be noted that the proposed penalty in 2015 is of 1% and this is likely to increase incrementally, up to 5% in the forthcoming years. Most of the penalties will be levied in the form of reduced Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements. To engage appropriate funding, all entities applying for the EMR healthcare funding should understand and prove "meaningful use" of patient medical records and the use of "certified EHR" technologies. This essentially means that the EMR vendor chosen by a healthcare provider/clinic or its business associates should comply with regulations that have been put forth in this niche, such as the standards set by the Security Rule of HIPPA.

The government is very serious in terms of ensuring that the conversion rate to EMR technologies is appreciable and that is why along with grants and federal funding, more college-level programs aimed at creating more Health Information Management professionals are likely to be introduced as 2014 draws near. This will ensure that the impending explosion in electronic records numbers is addressed with the availability of qualified professionals—further helping to reduce the overall costs for employing healthcare computer technologies and easing the entire process.