Since the beginning of 2011, federal regulations have governed the use of electronic health record systems in the healthcare industry. The Medicaid incentive program has been put in place to ensure that medical facilities and physicians begin using EMR technology to assist their patients in a quick, efficient, and cost-effective manner. Additionally, this incentive program rewards eligible hospitals, providers and critical access hospitals for their efforts in achieving and maintaining health information technology standards within their practice.

As of July 28, 2010 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) created a three step process for providers to have access to large databases of medical information. These three steps allow for the integration of technology while providing education and training for users that can be used immediately. Providers who achieve meaningful use of certified electronic medical record systems are not only rewarded financially but will also have a more efficient system in place to care for the needs of patients as well as support staff within individual organizations.

The influence of evidence-based medicine and the meaningful use of electronic medical records have stimulated the economy while allowing healthcare facilities to cut back on expenses. These actions lower the costs of healthcare for service providers, healthcare organizations, and even patients. Eligible participants in the Medicaid EMR incentive program are able to earn up to $44,000 per year for up to five years, which frays the costs involved with transitioning from older healthcare management techniques.

In a press release issued by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, twenty-three eligible hospitals and providers have earned a collective stipend of $10,433,183.05 in incentive payments. Payments were scheduled for release as of March 22, 2012. These incentive payments reduce the costs of implementing EMR technology while also allowing individual organizations to make a profit and positive investment in themselves.

This headlining news has spread throughout the international healthcare industry like a wild fire, which has the potential to further the use of EMR technology in areas where it has not been adopted yet. Many healthcare providers still need reinforcement to induce action before the 2012 deadline that has been put in place by government officials. Accordingly, the hesitation and doubt presented by some healthcare professionals may be waived once they learn of the positive effects this technology has for individual facilities.

When medical facilities transition to certified electronic medical record technology, they experience drastic cuts in wait times, improved communication between providers, and even more efficient access to vital medical data used to help diagnose and treat each patient. Additionally, this measure is enforced through federal legislations because of the increased security measures associated with EMR technology. HIPAA standards and protected health information are inherently protected by the technologies that are now shaping the ways of the medical practice.

For now, Kansas is but one of the first states to adapt to the changes that are taking place in the healthcare industry. Analysts anticipate the complete integration of EMR technology with modern medical practices throughout the nation before the end of 2012. Implementing EMR technology creates a stronger and safer infrastructure for the healthcare industry one facility at a time.