HealthDay News — The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) has already met and exceeded its goal to implement electronic health records (EHRs) in 50% of physician offices and 80% of eligible hospitals by the end of 2013, according to a report.

This represents a dramatic increase from 2008, in which just 17% of physicians’ offices and only 9% of hospitals had adopted EHRs, when the Obama administration started encouraging their use with Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments for adopting the systems and meeting meaningful use guidelines.

As of the end of April 2013, more than 291,000 eligible professionals and more than 3,800 eligible hospitals had received payments through Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.

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“We have reached a tipping point in adoption of electronic health records,” Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary, said in a statement, adding that EHRs are “critical to modernizing our health care system. Health information technology helps providers better coordinate care, which can improve patients’ health and save money at the same time.”

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