Document Type

Issue Brief

Publication Date



Health policymakers in recent years have looked to the implementation of health information technology (IT)—electronic health records and the like—as a means to improve quality, reduce costs, and achieve better health outcomes across populations. But implementing health IT in a meaningful way must go beyond purchasing medical records software. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) devised a set of measures and incentives for hospitals and eligible medical professionals within Medicare or Medicaid to mark successive stages of effective IT implementation. This issue brief discusses the history of meaningful use, the measures used to evaluate effectiveness, and the policy implications of the HHS requirements.


Issue brief no. 856

Open Access




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