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For US Hospitals, A Mixed Report in Electronic Health Record Adoption

Bethesda, MDFor the past four years, US hospitals participating in the Electronic Health Records (EHRs) Incentive Program through Medicare and Medicaid have been eligible for financial incentives if they met meaningful-use criteria. This year, however, hospitals participating in the Medicare portion of the program could face financial penalties for not meeting meaningful-use requirements. According to a new study, being released by Health Affairs as a Web First, this "carrot and stick" approach has worked. Using 2008-14 nationwide data on EHR adoption trends, the authors found that by 2014, 75 percent of US hospitals had adopted at least a basic EHR system--up from 59 percent in 2013. Also, 40.5 percent of hospitals had the capabilities needed to meet core stage 2 meaningful-use criteria--a major leap from 2013's 5.8 percent. However, small and rural hospitals still lagged behind.







Electronic Health Record Adoption In US Hospitals: Progress Continues, But Challenges Persist
By Julia Adler-Milstein, Catherine M. DesRoches, Peter Kralovec, Gregory Foster, Chantal Worzala, Dustin Charles, Talisha Searcy, and Ashish K. Jha
Adler-Milstein is affiliated with the University of Michigan; DesRoches is with Mathematica Policy Research; Kralovec directs the Health Forum; Foster is with the Health Research and Educational Trust; Worzala is affiliated with the American Hospital Association; Charles and Searcy are with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology; and Jha is affiliated with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
This study, which was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, will also appear in the December issue of Health Affairs.
The study data came from the American Hospital Association Annual Survey-IT Supplement for information technology adoption for 2008-14, which is sent to the CEO of every US hospital. "Our findings suggest that close to 100 percent hospital adoption of basic EHRs is possible in the near future," conclude the authors. "However, our data reveal specific areas in which hospitals are struggling. Policy strategies that target these issues, which will especially benefit small and rural hospitals, could bring about nationwide hospital EHR adoption."