More than half of U.S. doctors are now using electronic medical records systems to manage their patients' basic medical information and prescriptions, according to federal data set to be released today, The Wall Street Journal reported.


According to the government data, 291,325 doctors and other providers, or approximately 55 percent of the office-based providers eligible for federal incentives to use electronic records, have received payments. Additionally, 3,880 hospitals have adopted electronic medical records systems.


Approximately 49 percent of Iowa health-care providers have adopted electronic health records, according to the latest data posted on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website.  


Beginning in 2015, the federal government will penalize providers that haven't begun using electronic health records by reducing the reimbursements they receive for treating Medicare patients.


In Iowa, 13 hospitals have reached the highest levels of electronic medical records implementation, according to separate data tracked by Healthcare Information and Management Systems, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization. 
The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics last year achieved Stage 7 status, the highest level attainable, and 12 hospitals, among them Broadlawns Medical Center in Des Moines, have reached Stage 6. Stages 6 and 7 represent nearly paperless, fully integrated electronic medical systems.