Certified electronic health record technology under the Quality Payment Program

By Emily M. Gillen, Olivia Kathryn Gaines Berzin, Adam Vincent, Douglas Johnston

The 2016 Quality Payment Program (QPP) is a Medicare reimbursement reform designed to incentivize value-based care over volume-based care. A core tenet of the QPP is integrated utilization of certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT). Adopting and implementing CEHRT is a resource-intensive process, requiring both financial capital and human capital (in the form of knowledge and time). Adoption can be especially challenging for small or rural practices that may not have access to such capital.

In this issue brief, we discuss the role of CEHRT in the QPP and offer policy recommendations to help small and rural practices improve their health information technology (IT) capabilities with regards to participation in value-based care. The QPP requires practices to have health IT capabilities, both as a requirement for a complete performance score and to facilitate reporting. Practices that are unable to implement CEHRT will have difficulty complying with the new reimbursement system, and will likely incur financial losses. We recommend monetary support and staff training to small and rural practices for the adoption of CEHRT, and we recommend assistance to help practices comply with the requirements of the QPP and coordinate with other small and rural practices for reporting purposes.


Gillen, E. M., Berzin, O. K. G., Vincent, A., & Johnston, D. (2018). Certified electronic health record technology under the Quality Payment Program. (RTI Press Publication No. PB-0014-1801). Research Triangle Park, NC: RTI Press. https://doi.org/10.3768/rtipress.2018.pb.0014.1801

© 2019 RTI International. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Emily M. GillenEmily Gillen, PhD, is a research economist in RTI's Health Care Financing and Payment program, with more than 10 years of experience in policy and health services research.

Olivia Kathryn Gaines BerzinOlivia Berzin, MPH, is a research associate in RTI’s Health Care Quality and Outcomes program, with 7 years of experience in health services research.

Adam VincentAdam Vincent, MPP, is a health IT research scientist with over 15 years of experience in cost-benefit analysis, project management, and data analysis.

Douglas JohnstonDoug Johnston, MTS, is the director of the Digital Health Policy and Standards (DHPS) Program and has 20 years of experience in health policy and issues involving emerging heath information technology.

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