$18 Billion Might Be Spent to Stimulate EHR Adoption

Posted on February 23, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I love how people are saying that $18 billion will be spent on EHR adoption due to what has been dubbed the HITECH act. My question is how did they come up with the $18 billion number? I guess you could say that it’s the max that the government has permitted to be spent. However, if that’s the case, then shouldn’t people be saying that $18 billion MIGHT be spent to stimulate EHR adoption?

Seriously, what if doctors don’t like any of the certified EHR (whatever that turns out to be) and decide not to implement an EHR? What if Medicaid and Medicare make “meaningful EMR use” so difficult to achieve that most doctors who implement an EHR don’t actual see the stimulus from the government?

I’m not trying to say that the government isn’t going to pay our billions of dollars to those who have implemented an EHR. I have a feeling that billions will be paid out as medicare and medicaid bonuses. However, I don’t know how they got the number of $18 billion. For all we know, it could end up being $2 billion.

Plus, we have to ask ourselves the purpose of the HITECH act. Many have said that it’s to “stimulate EHR adoption.” I have a strong feeling that those existing EHR users will be the ones who benefit most. If $15 billion of the $18 billion allocated goes to existing EHR users, then that doesn’t sound like a good investment used to increase EHR adoption to me.