Health information technology (HIT) has become central to health care reform policy-making due to its potential to improve efficiency and increase the quality of health care in the United States. Adoption of these technologies has remained a priority of the federal government as evidenced by incentive programs enacted through legislation, including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Since the inaugural report of Health Information Technology in the United States, released in 2006, the authors have found slow, steady increases in the level of adoption for physicians and hospitals throughout the United States. Now, as these incentive programs and other reform initiatives begin implementation, they continue to track the progress of the nation’s health care system toward universal adoption of electronic health records (EHRs). Mirroring the emphasis at the federal level on the use of this technology in a way that has the greatest potential to improve the overall quality and efficiency of care, this report expands on their previous analysis by investigating health care providers’ readiness to meet program requirements and explores the role of HIT in other health care reform initiatives.