Health Information Technology (HIT) Resource Center

Health Resources

HIT Overview

Health information technology or HIT encompasses a wide range of electronic software, hardware and data systems that are designed to increase efficiency, quality of care, and information sharing.

For a complete list on the various types of health IT available, visit the AMA’s HIT Basics page.

Why should practices utilize health information technology such as electronic health records (EHR)?

  1. Improved quality of care – EHR improves the quality of patient care by providing patient care reports that allow for quality patient follow-up;
  2. Greater reimbursement – EHR can improve clinical documentation to support higher levels of coding that increases reimbursement;
  3. Increased efficiency – EHR can improve the practice’s workflow;
  4. Easier access to information – by transitioning from paper-based processes to more efficient electronic processes, physicians and staff have easier access to information regarding their patients;
  5. Financial incentives – With the enactment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, instituting electronic health records within practices can provide financial incentives to reward practices that achieve meaningful use of electronic health technology.

Incentive Programs & “Meaningful Use”

Source: CMS – The Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs provide a financial incentive for the “meaningful use” of certified EHR technology to achieve health and efficiency goals. 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. Physicians and hospitals that fail to demonstrate meaningful use by 2015 face reimbursement reductions.


  1. What is “Meaningful Use”? The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 specifies three main components of Meaningful Use:
    • The use of a certified EHR in a meaningful manner, such as e-prescribing.
    • The use of certified EHR technology for electronic exchange of health information to improve quality of health care.
    • The use of certified EHR technology to submit clinical quality and other measures.

    For more information on meaningful use click here.

  2. How and why should I implement Electronic Health Records for my practice? CMS has answers for you here.
  3. Where can primary care practices receive assistance with meaningful use? Primary Care Practices can receive assistance from the Regional Extension Centers – click here to register for services –
  4. Is my EHR vendor’s product certified for Meaningful Use? Visit the Certified Health IT Product List (CHPL) to find out.

Stage 1 and Stage 2 Requirements 

Stage One Requirements:

(from CMS:) Meaningful use includes both a core set and a menu set of objectives that are specific to eligible professionals or eligible hospitals and CAHs. For eligible professionals, there are a total of 24 meaningful use objectives.  To qualify for an incentive payment, 19 of these 24 objectives must be met:

  • 14 required core objectives
  • 5 objectives chosen from a list of 10 menu set objectives.

For eligible hospitals and CAHs, there are a total of 23 meaningful use objectives. To qualify for an incentive payment, 18 of these 23 objectives must be met:

  • 13 required core objectives
  • 5 objectives chosen from a list of 10 menu set objectives.

CMS provides Meaningful Use Specification Sheets that bring together critical information on each objective to help you understand what you need to do to meet the program requirements. Each specification sheet covers a single eligible professional core or menu set objective in detail, including information on:

  • Meeting the measure for each objective
  • How to calculate the numerator and denominator for each objective
  • How to qualify for an exclusion to an objective
  • In-depth definitions of terms that clarify objective requirements
  • Requirements for attesting to each measure

Stage 2 Requirements:

In order to get to Stage 2 requirements, eligible professionals will need to have met Stage 1 requirements of the EHR Incentive Programs for a 90-day period in your first year of participation and a full year in your second year of participation. For all of the specifics on meeting Stage 2 requirements, visit CMS:

Tools and Resources


CMS has several resources located on the EHR Incentive Programs website to help EPs properly meet meaningful use and attest, including:

  • A Registration & Attestation page on the CMS EHR Incentive Programs website that houses information on registration and attestation, and includes links to additional resources.
  • The Meaningful Use Attestation Calculator allows EPs and eligible hospitals to determine if they have met the Stage 1 meaningful use guidelines before they attest in the system. The calculator prints a copy of each EP’s or eligible hospital’s specific measure summary.
  • The Attestation User Guide for Medicare Eligible Professionals provides step-by-step guidance for EPs participating in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program on navigating the attestation system.
  • The Attestation Worksheet for EPs allows users to enter their meaningful use measure values, creating a quick reference tool to use while attesting.

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