This section includes information on why AACAP members should adopt EMRs, including information on the CMS/National initiatives, privacy concerns, and getting started with an EMR.

Why Invest in an EMR?

Whether to invest time, effort and money into electronic medical records (EMR), also referred to as electronic health records (EHR) and health information systems (HIS), is an important, some would say critical, decision. There are some powerful reasons to adopt this developing technology.

Need Help Getting Started?

Considering change to an electronic medical record (EMR) or electronic health record (EHR) can seem like a daunting task. The AACAP Task Force for Health Information Technology has compiled a list of annotated links that may prove helpful in this process.

Medicare/Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 included new funding for Health Information Technology (HIT), which will support incentives for physicians who have adopted Electronic Health Records (EHRs). Eligible professionals who treat outpatient Medicare or Medicaid patients and demonstrate that they are using a certified EHR in a meaningful way can earn incentive payments. However, starting in 2015, Medicare reimbursement rates will be reduced by up to 1% for physicians who do not meet this requirement. There is currently no penalty for Medicaid providers who don't participate and this particular incentive program runs through 2021. There are several components that providers must meet in order to receive the incentive or avoid the penalty, including using certified technology and meeting meaningful use requirements.

If you are interested in finding out more about the incentive programs, check out our FAQs. In addition, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has a web site devoted to the programs complete with information on eligibility, how to participate in the programs, overviews on both the Medicare and Medicaid programs, calendar of dates and everything important to know about certification of EHRs, meaningful use criteria, and quality measures. If you have questions about any of the other incentive programs offered by CMS, such as the Physician Quality Reporting System or eRx Incentive Program, as well as additional questions about the EHR programs, please contact Jennifer Medicus, Assistant Director of Clinical Practice at jmedicus@aacap.org or 202.587.9670.

Other Resources
American Medical Association page on EHR Incentive Programs
American Psychiatric Association page on EHRs (You may have to have APA login to access the page.)
Meaningful Use OneSource (Information specific to help with the meaningful use criteria.)