The Obama administration announced Monday that hospitals are ready to commit to electronic health records (EHR).
In a statement posted online, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said that the top five largest private health care systems in the country had pledged to work toward certain goals in adopting EHRs.
The first goal related to consumer access, specifically, making consumers’ medical information accessible electronically and on-demand.
Second, providers pledged not to block other providers from accessing important patient medical information. Instead, the department is emphasizing that the increased sharing information, so long as patients’ privacy is protected, is an important component of making health care more efficient.
Providers also committed to implement EHRs in accordance with federal interoperability standards.
The administration claims that companies providing over 90 percent of the EHR systems in the U.S. similarly vowed to work with providers to achieve the goals mentioned.
“We are working to unlock health care data and information so that providers are better informed and patients and families can access their health care information, making them empowered, active participants in their own care,” said Burwell, during a speech at a Health IT conference in Las Vegas, according to The Hill.
The administration has pushed the adoption of EHRs as a way to make health care more efficient and less prone to risks since the beginning of the Obama presidency. In fact, the 2009 stimulus bill included financial incentives for providers that adopt EHRs.
EHRs have not been universally embraced, as some providers have struggled to implement the new systems. That said, a recent study found that hospitals that fully implemented EHRs had fewer “adverse events” than those that hadn’t.