In order to capture and share patient data efficiently, providers need an EHR that stores data in a structured format.
Structured data allows patient information to be easily retrieved and transferred, and it allows the provider to use the EHR in ways that can aid patient care.
CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) have established standards and other criteria for structured data that EHRs must use in order to qualify for this incentive program.
To get an incentive payment, providers must use an EHR that is certified specifically for the EHR Incentive Programs. Certified EHR technology gives assurance to purchasers and other users that an EHR system or module offers the necessary technological capability, functionality, and security to help them meet the meaningful use criteria. Certification also helps providers and patients be confident that the electronic health IT products and systems they use are secure, can maintain data confidentially, and can work with other systems to share information.