At least 100,000 providers will receive electronic health records meaningful use incentive payments, during 2012, Farzad Mostashari, M.D., National Coordinator for HIT, predicts in a new blog posting.

And that’s just the start, he says, laying what he sees as a turning point year. “In summary, I see 2012 as the year in which health I.T. truly comes of age.”

Mostashari tackles five major I.T. trends during the coming year, starting with the taking off of meaningful use after 20,000 eligible professionals and 1,200 hospitals received incentive payments in 2011. His other predictions:

* Health information technology will turn the corner and take off in 2012. He cites the Direct Project clinical messaging software as a major achievement now being accepted by the industry. Now, the focus is on standards development for the Nationwide Health Information Network as HIE requirements become more rigorous in Stage 2.

* Health I.T. will help connect the dots on payment reform. “As more providers adopt EHRs and go through the process of attesting to meaningful use, I believe they will increasingly see the direct connections between health I.T., new payment models and the ways in which the former can help them succeed with the latter. Moreover, EHRs, health information exchange and other forms of health I.T. will increasingly be seen as key enablers within new payment models themselves.”

* Consumers will increasingly use health I.T., Mostashari believes. “Personal health records are becoming easier to use as more data holders make it possible to download information through tools like Blue Button. Many health care providers are setting up patient portals which are directly connected to their EHRs.” Blue Button is federally developed technology, added to I.T. systems, to enable consumers to download their claims and medical information in a common format.

* Innovation will drive improvement in I.T. systems, with Web-hosting making EHRs easier and less expensive to install and maintain. The systems increasingly support mobile computing devices and the emphasis on value-based payments will fuel better quality measurement/improvement and population health management tools.

The blog is available here.

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