Become a Member

Health Information Technology Standards

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Electronic Health Record (CMS EHR) - Incentive Program / Meaningful Use

CMS EHR Incentive Program / Meaningful Use

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act provides the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) with the authority to establish programs to improve health care quality, safety, and efficiency through the promotion of health IT, including electronic health records and private and secure electronic health information exchange.

Under HITECH, eligible health care professionals and hospitals can qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments when they adopt certified EHR technology and use it to achieve specified objectives, or "Meaningful Use".

To achieve Meaningful Use, EHR technologies must have certain technical capabilities, and providers must meet the specified objectives and measures. Meaningful use objectives encourage common technical capabilities, use of those capabilities, and electronic information exchange by participants in the EHR Incentive Program.

By putting into action and meaningfully using an EHR system, providers will reap benefits beyond financial incentives - such as reduction in errors, availability of records and data, reminders and alerts, clinical decision support, and e-prescribing/refill automation.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) develops the Meaningful Use criteria and measures that form the foundation for EHR certification criteria. Navigating the Meaningful Use and Standards and Certification Criteria can be challenging, so ONC developed grids that capture the Meaningful Use objectives, measures, and exclusions, and the correlated certification criteria and standards.