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HIMSS Analytics: Most Hospitals Are Steps from EMRs

April 6, 2009
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With the Medicare and Medicaid incentives for health information technology use announced, almost 70 percent of United States hospitals are only two steps away or less from having the health IT applications necessary to deliver EMRs, according to the EMR Adoption Model (EMRAM) from Chicago-based HIMSS Analytics.

According to HIMSS Analytics, while only 6 percent of hospitals report comprehensive adoption of health IT applications, which are frequently associated with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), EHR criteria (major ancillary department information systems, clinical documentation, CPOE and clinical decision support), 67 percent need to add only one or two of these applications to have this threshold of EHR functionality available for their clinicians’ use.

According to David Garets, HIMSS Analytics president/CEO, the majority tracked by EMRAM appear to be two steps or less from having the applications implemented to achieve an EMR tool capable of realizing ‘meaningful use’ objectives. “That means that almost three-quarters of U.S. hospitals are on the right track to EMR implementation,” he says. “We believe that when hospitals reach Stage 4 on the EMRAM, they will be able to meet many, if not most, of the pending criteria for the current definition of ‘meaningful use’ of the EMR.”

Garets says his group recognizes that the technology is necessary but not sufficient as change management must also be involved. “We believe that ‘meaningful use’ will demand measurement and reporting of clinical quality, patient safety, and cost reduction data, for example,” he says. “That data should be available to hospitals as a byproduct of their EMR’s clinical documentation and reporting tools.”

Developed in 2005, the EMRAM has become an industry standard to measure the progress in EMR implementation for healthcare organizations. To view the eight stages of EMRAM, visit the HIMSS Analytics Web site.

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